SHoP Breaks Ground on Africa’s Silicon Valley

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On the outskirts of Nairobi, the New York firm is beginning construction on the Konza Techno City, a state-of-the-art business and technology hub.

From the firm behind Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards development – and its recently completed showpiece, the Barclays Center –  comes a 2,011-hectare masterplan to re-imagine a swath of grassland as a bright new city.

It will include a university campus (with many universities and affiliated research labs), a technology and life sciences district, and a government data centre. Multinationals including Google, IBM, Boeing and FedEx have reportedly expressed interest in headquartering their African arms in Konza.

While the project’s tech-business plans (expected to generate 20,000 IT jobs by 2015 and 200,000 by 2030) are touted as its highlights, the bulk of the land is allotted to the homes and universities. Akin to the type of new cities sprouting up in China, the  development will accommodate 250,000 residents.

Breaking ground now, the first phase will see the construction of an auditorium on an elevated pavilion, whose undulating roof overlooks the boulevards of Konza’s natural landscape. Yet, the project’s most challenging aspect will be its transportation infrastructure: The entire city will be connected by a series of bridges that cross over a major roadway running through the centre. Construction for the entire project is expected to take 20 years.

 

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