Astana City to celebrate it's jubilee

размер шрифта: Aa | Aa
09.02.2009 00:30

His is known, in the mid-1990-ies, Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev took a wise decision -then unexpected for many, and yet fateful - to remove the capital from Almaty in the South to the very heart of that country, to a then-provincial city Akmola. And within a short period of time Astana, as Akmola was renamed afterwards, turned into an epicenter of economic, political and cultural life of Kazakhstani nation. Astana has already contributed its «golden page» into the history of the young sovereign nation of Kazakhstan. Other countries have built futuristic capitals in its remote «outposts», Brasilia most famously, and other cities have experienced feverish, transformational construction, like Dubai. But none have sprung up quite like Astana, from the ambition to create not only a national capital but also a national identity. Astana became a unifying idea for Kazakhstan people that helped to burst Kazakhstan forward in its economic development. The Kazakhstan government believes the geographical location of the new capital, coinciding with the Pacific Ocean - Europe communications crossroads, will enable it to become a major transit hub. According to analysts' evaluations, significant investment will be attracted to that promising region. Kazakhstan is determined not to lose this opportunity. And this opportunity becomes reality.
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Astana is already a magnet for investors, both domestic and foreign. Some $13 billion has already been invested in Astana, though observers suggest that figure is a low estimate, primarily due to a flamboyant growth of private investments that are difficult to evaluate properly. A total of $5 billion has been invested in the government quarter alone since the establishment of a Special Economic Zone in 2002 offering tax incentives to investors.
Regardless of the cost, there's no disputing that Astana has experienced an intensive construction boom on a grand scale, and there is still several years to go: many major projects are due to be finished by 2012-13. Some 15 million square meters of construction is planned for the coming years. Interesting, that Astana's population has more than doubled since the move, to over 600,000, and it is estimated to top 1 million by 2020. The capital of Kazakhstan has become the nod of international activity already. Remember just one of the most unique international events - the regular Congress of World and Traditional Religions, initially proposed by Nursultan Nazarbayev. Astana was awarded a special prize of UNESCO as City of Peace In July 1999. It also was highly evaluated by Moody's Investors Service in 2003.
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It should be noted that world's most famous architects have been attracted to take part in the city conceptual design elaboration. That fact laid a cornerstone in a unique architecture to be built in Astana.
The original city plan was drafted by the prominent Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and has since been revised to a grander form. Manfredi Nicoletti of Italy has designed a concert hall. Lord Foster, the British architect, has now a new project that echoes his flamboyant Palace of Peace & Accord built in Astana earlier: a giant conical structure, bent as though blown by the harsh winds that are notorious there. It is known as the Khan's Pavilion. When completed, it will be a year-round trade-and-entertainment centre containing stores and theaters, a water park and seven acres of terraced gardens modeled on nothing less than the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
astana2.jpgNorman Foster has also designed the complex Abu Dhabi Plaza to include an 88-storey tower, hotels and a winter garden the size of a soccer pitch. But a visit card of the city considers to be a magnificent Bayterek monument.
The main idea of all those efforts is to create one of the best cities in the world, both for living and business. But Astana is not only an architectural breakthrough. To ensure high competitiveness and leading position of Astana it has to be attractive for its inhabitants, investors, business people and guests. That is the main focus of its development now. For this purpose Astana is to strive for strategic directions of its development, namely to ensure sustainable economic development, maintain favorable environment and sustainable infrastructure, establishment of socially sustainable urban community and improvement of municipal management system. The aim to ensure of sustainable economic development implies enhancement of Astana reputation not only as an administrative centre of Kazakhstan but the city with the diversified economy, high participation of competitive private sector. Competitive economy, increase of working efficiency, extension of outlets, production of new goods and services will become the basis for improvement of quality of life that ensures high employment rate. That option creates favorable conditions for investments, especially from abroad.
Noteworthy that in a close future Astana is to become the centre for technological progress and exemplary civilized Kazakhstan community; capital city of the information community, i.e. national innovation centre. Under corresponding conditions it is possible to initiate new high tech and science intensive clusters on alternative energy and energy saving, biotechnology and medicine, information, telecommunication and electronic technologies. Major arrangements for competitiveness enhancement and creation of equal competition status are on the way now.
astana3.jpgThe world tendency of economic development today lies in transition from industrial and post-industrial type of development based on intellectual resources to knowledge-based and high technologies. Thus Astana City searches its competitive advantages primarily in economic diversification, utilization of intellectual resources. Innovation economic development implies both modernization of existing city and suburban enterprises and establishment of new high-tech, science intensive sectors with high value added.
Progressive high-tech production and innovative policy requires to accumulate manpower resources, prioritize education and science and build innovation system. That is why a suburban satellite science town of Astana will be found soon, with the large techno-park with the technical university, research centers and numerous small innovation enterprises, pulled into several clusters of information and telecommunication technologies, high tech and science intensive productions. Astana authorities will amalgamate contiguous enterprises -with other related institutions - universities, research centers, techno-parks. In support of cluster development the municipality aims at making profit by companies' cost reduction resulted from cooperation and improvement of quality of life. Public and private research institutes, design bureaus, higher educational institutions and science and technology enterprises, state institutes of development financing private sector initiatives in non-primary sectors serve as basis for high-tech, IT, education and biotechnological cluster development in Astana. The focus will be made on building the science-intensive cluster to make Astana a Kazakhstan national center for sustainable production, technology, education and science intensive activities. Thus in a close perspective Astana will totally transforms to a real breakthrough, innovative city in the heart of Eurasia, that creates a new level for future city-building and opens giant possibilities for foreign investors.