Cairo Capital Park


Egypt, Africa


One of the world’s biggest new parks, and a first for Egypt and Africa, with an area twice the size of New York City’s Central Park, Cairo Capital Park runs through the spine of Egypt’s New Administrative Capital in Cairo and aims to serve as the cultural, social and environmental heart this new smart, sustainable city in the desert.

Alongside a variety of gardens embracing three eras of Egyptian history (Pharaonic, Classical and Islamic), the new Citizens’ Park contains a series of programmed destinations along its 10km length. These include major event spaces, cultural and sporting destinations, and family focused amenity spaces to enhance and promote wellbeing for all at all ages.

It was important to break down the impacts of the new Park on the existing landscape and ensure Dar’s designs created a positive environmental gain for each aspect of Cairo's new green lung.

The project

Cairo Capital Park:

  • Contributes positively to the ECOLOGICAL and BIODIVERSE environmental systems in Egypt and the wider region
  • Provides WELLBEING for all users through landscapes and contrasting passive and active spaces for all demographics
  • Reflects the CULTURE and HERITAGE of Egypt through design language and Park uses
  • Promotes PHYSICAL ACTIVITY through sport activities and open spaces that promote WALKABILITY and cycling through a series of multi-modal movement loops around the Park
  • Is a resourceful, RESILIENT, self-sufficient entity and provides job and economic opportunities through a circular economy
  • Promotes Egyptian ART and ARTISTS through curated pieces embracing Egyptian talent and provides opportunities to celebrate current and past artistic achievements
  • Is ADAPTIVE through design flexibility which can accommodate different activities throughout the lifecycle of the Park
  • Is CLIMATE ADAPTIVE so it can be used throughout the year and at any time of day
  • Offers EDUCATION opportunities through the selection of native planting where visitors can be exposed to the plants and trees of Egypt
  • Promotes the use of SMART city technology as one of the main operation methods including automated transport systems
  • Is an indispensable commodity to the New Administrative Capital as a whole, as the main social hub and a focus for connecting communities.
At a glance:
  • 10 km long/440 ha urban Park
  • Wide range of amenities and destinations as the main city Park and green lung
  • Variety of gardens, uses and activities
  • Indoor arboretum, country club and wellness complex, boating lake and waterside restaurant, sculpture garden and art pavilion, fishing pond and picnic area, urban games complex and box park, event lawn and outdoor cinema, children learning gardens and play centre, library, and reading gardens.


The Project

Building resilient infrastructure, combating desertification, and promoting wellbeing for all is at the heart of Cairo's new Park, the key to Dar’s masterplan design for Egypt’s New Administrative Capital. The landscape masterplan prepared by Dar’s London and Cairo teams developed from concept design through to construction information and site supervision.


Design Ethos

Cairo Capital Park is divided into two main landscapes: Naturistic and Man-Made.

  • Natural spaces are sub-divided into three prototypes including garden spaces, lakes, and lawn space.
  • Man-made spaces offer plazas, sports fields, play areas, restaurants in open spaces, or culturally inspired spaces.

Planting typologies are categorised according to their water demands. Xeriscaping, the use of plants with low water consumption, is the predominant planting strategy with arid, semi-arid, grassed, and feature landscapes.

The site boundaries and entrances feature a desertscape theme with arid planting, less vibrant colours, and sand and boulders dominant. This then gradually fades from arid to feature planting at the centre of the Park, characterised with more vibrant colours.

A strategically located tree-planting strategy delineates pedestrian networks, giving each a distinct character and much needed shade. This encourages pedestrian movement and provides scent and colour to particular routes, emphasising their importance.

Cairo Capital Park is divided into three main zones:

  • Starting from CP01 with a natural overall character, followed by the cultural identity of CP02, and leading to CP03 characterised by a civic nature.

An overall connection and identity are maintained by the Park’s movement network, designed according to a hierarchy of main entrances and the pathways. These are divided into a main 15m boulevard, a secondary 8m path, and a tertiary path.

The main 15m path and secondary 8m path go along the length of the entire Park with the same hardscape material palettes and furniture styles.


Sustainable Benefits

  • Urban ecosystems: local ecosystems were protected on site while developing the Park’s softscape by creating supportive habitats for native flora and fauna, and using xeriscape landscaping to reduce or eliminate the need for watering.
  • Material use and solid waste: effective and safe recycling and composting measures include segregated waste bins across all areas frequented by visitors to avoid any health hazards on site or at off-site disposal facilities.
  • Stormwater: a resilient stormwater management network (including pipes and culverts) guards against local flooding - particularly important given the Park’s location within the New Administrative Capital.
  • Water: there are very few grassed areas, which reduces overall demand for irrigation, regardless of its sources, and supports water security and water efficiency.
  • Microclimate: buildings and planting are sited to make the most of favourable wind and air movement, discourage airborne dust, and improve outdoor thermal comfort.
  • Energy: efficient outdoor lighting reduces the Park’s overall energy demand.
  • Mobility: providing drinking water, shaded areas, frequent resting areas, and appropriate walking surfaces throughout encourages active mobility via walking, cycling, pedal-assisted e-bikes, kick-scooters, etc, with their associated health, social, and commercial benefits.

A wide variety of species means a healthy ecosystem that’s better equipped to cope with threats such as climate change. Cairo Capital Park contributes to the ecological value of the surrounding landscape and towards the Strategic Goals and Targets of Egypt’s Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2015-2030) including: conservation, rehabilitation, sustainable management programmes, and developing environmental education and awareness campaigns about desert conservation, ecotourism and encouraging support.


Providing Value

  • Inclusive gathering spaces in the Park allow for social mixing, civic participation, recreation, and a sense of belonging.
  • Using integrated methods of design, the Park fights spatial segregation and achieves placemaking by increasing “quality of life” and economic opportunities for everyone.
  • The design means the Park is inclusive and accessible for all, including people with diverse abilities, and is adaptable to different needs, giving visitors a choice in how they use their Park.
  • Location-wise, the Park is easily accessible by foot, with transit stops located nearby but not surrounded by fast-moving traffic.
  • Focusing on the user experience eliminates complexity and information is communicated in a variety of ways: pictorial, verbal, tactile.
  • Efficiency and comfort are taken into consideration, and fatigue and hazards are minimised by providing ample space in terms of size, approach, line of sight, and functionality.
  • At over 10km long, it’s easy to lose your sense of place. Five colossal Red Towers act as meeting points and landmarks so visitors can orientate themselves, especially at night when they come alive with light. Evenings are special in the Middle East, and life happens after dark – partly due to the climate.
  • The Towers are also a tribute to Parc de la Villette in Paris, where Bernard Tschumi orientated a beautiful grid of pavilions, ushering a new era of landscape urbanism for the 20th century.
  • This is a Park for the People, a Citizens’ Park for the whole of Egypt, not just Cairo.

Cairo Capital Park is at the heart of one of the world’s biggest construction projects, the creation of a new administrative capital for Egypt. As such, Dar undertook a huge feasibility study at the planning stages to ensure the proposals were environmentally sustainable, economically robust, and resiliently designed. Dar’s teams worked extensively with all stakeholders through a series of workshops and feedback loops to ensure the Park reflected the needs and desires of the Egyptians.