Building a New Capital

This is my first musing on the idea of building a fictional capital.

The idea a designing and building a whole city seems overwhelming, yet exciting.


Besides writers who builds whole new cities today?  Perhaps a megalomaniac.  In the future and off world, perhaps corporations, or nation-state conglomerates.

Yet there is a cool, wow factor to such an undertaking.  One could take whole elements from other cities, cultures, and mash them up.  It would be like taking Las Vegas to the next level.  Glitz and schmaltz, and iron and steel and glass.  Oh the horrific majesty of it all.

The city could be impractical, sort of the Winchester House writ on a national scale.  Stairs in government buildings that lead nowhere.  Or walls that open into some department or ministry.  Or stairwells which lead in every direction but never seem to reach a destination.  Or whimsical, as if Willy Wonka designed it.

There are examples from history which could serve as inspiration.  Several cities had to rebuild after fire, i.e. London, Chicago, and ancient Rome, to name a few.  Protests and rebellion have led to redesign and rebuilt cities, such as Paris.

An example from current time would be what Chinese developers are undertaking.  They may not be building a capital city per se, but rebuilding whole châteaux complete with gardens, or famous buildings, or renown architectural styles out in the Chinese hinterlands, can be impressive (if not bewildering).

Then there are examples of Kazkhstan, or Burma.

The generals in Burma decided to pick up the government and move it lock, stock, and barrel to the middle of no where.

This idea could be developed.  What if in the future a government built a new capital so it could control access, hinder revolution, etc.  What if they retreat into a secured facility, where only the approved are allowed entrance.  There are only one or two ways in, or out.  It is surrounded by bared wire, guards, multiple check points.  I envision it would be filled with stark architecture, functional, but with little to no adornments. The buildings exist to protect and facilitate government business. It feels like a very bleak place, reminisce of Cold War Brutalist architecture

Or just go with the oil rich dictator and pimp my capital.

Fill it with marble, gold leaf, shiny materials, glass, and steel, and the facade of modernity.  Always building new, even if it’s not needed.  A white elephant capital, as it were.

All of this then leads to the question who would build such a city?  One that is stark.  Or sterile.  Or brutual, or whimsical. What kind of person builds a practical city, or a grand city?

So the next writing exercise  is-describe, or explore the person who is directing the city’s development.  Also could describe the project foreman (who would presumably be different from country’s ruler).  How does he motivate people to build this city?  Violence? Vacations? Villas?  What is her vision for the city?  country?  Reasons for taking on this project?  (ego-hoping to be remembered)(revenge-overcome the naysayers)

Share your ideas in the comments.  Happy writing.


Writing Prompts

I came across an article some time back and it talked about Kazkhstan was going to build a new capitol.  They were going to spend 30 Billion dollars on it.  The old capitol was called Almaty and the new one is called Astana.  It is a catchy name.

If you needed to make a new capitol in one of your stories, what would you do different from the old capitol?  What would be new?  What would you spend most of the money on?  Infrastructure? Government buildings? Presidential house?  Religious houses?  What would the lay out be?  Circular?  Walls of protection? or Imprisonment?

Would a secret society build the city?  Would it be practical or extravagant?  Would native vegetation be used, or would it be shipped in?  Is the site a better site than the old capitol?

There are so many ways to look at building a new capitol.  Have fun and share below in comments.

Happy Writing.