New Caspian City

Leveraging the existing natural habitat to create a new world-class destination for business and tourism and setting the example for the way global cities should be developed in the future.

New Caspian City Aerial


Republic of Dagestan, Russia


100 square kilometers

New Caspian City Master Plan


Dagestan is one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the world with over 100 nationalities and ethnic groups.

The average age is 25, and Dagestan has the highest life expectancy in Russia.

The master plan seeks to provide employment for 200,000-250,000 people, education for 100,000 students, over 4,300 hotel beds, and 1,500 hospital/clinical beds.

New Caspian City Night

THE CHALLENGE: Unlocking the Potential of a World-Class Destination

Inspired by the need to invest in the younger generation and lay the foundation for Dagestan’s future prosperity, New City Foundation sought a comprehensive master plan that would become the road map for developing a world-class city that offers new opportunities for education, culture, work and overall improved ways of life.

Seven key development objectives were established at the outset:

  1. Develop a destination city that is strong in its tourism and sports offering;
  2. Attract a variety of local and regional investors;
  3. Deliver an efficient connectivity and mobility network;
  4. Ensure a balance between urban living and high-quality open space;
  5. Create districts that integrate social, economic and environmental sustainability to instill a strong sense of community, belonging and ownership;
  6. Capitalize on and conserve the site’s unique natural beauty and natural resources using the most progressive current sustainable theories and technologies; and
  7. Integrate safety and security throughout the development.

Setting the groundwork for a knowledge-based economy, New Caspian City would become a gateway to the region and instill a sense of national and cultural pride – a new international city that sets the example for future urban developments.

New Caspian City

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New Caspian City

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THE DESIGN STRATEGY: Creating a Road Map for Long-Term Resilience

The existing natural habitat of the mountains, the lakes and the sea provide the ideal setting for a new city, but designing a resilient world-class destination required thoughtful analysis of the components that have helped other world-class cities succeed. The WATG team led a research study to determine what makes cities desirable places to live. It became clear that leading cities like Geneva, Copenhagen, Vancouver, Melbourne, Singapore and others all have several attributes in common: strong natural settings and relationships with their waterways and coasts; policies and procedures that prioritize environmental preservation and long-term sustainability; excellent transport systems; diverse economies; vibrant mixed-use urban districts; and the solid civic backbone of good healthcare and excellent education and cultural institutions. All of these components would be integrated into New Caspian City’s master plan.

With Dagestan’s youth a core target of the long-term plan, the design team also had to consider that creating a sense of ownership and belonging would be essential to developing a functional community. WATG’s decades of industry-leading hospitality design experience enabled the team to balance human physical and emotional needs with the development objectives. The successful city of the future takes the best of human behavior and mixes it to form the ideal living environment which in turn supports economic robustness.

Implicit to New Caspian City’s design was the understanding that the long-term success of each development objective is inextricable linked to the others, and hinges on several components as catalysts for development: upgrade of the airport and regional transport connections (a prerequisite to the launch of any initiatives to increase tourism), development of world-class education and sporting facilities, provision of international-standard resorts, construction of new iconic landmarks (such as a mosque set to become a modern-day wonder of the world), incentives to kick-start industry and development, and a network of small businesses.

 To facilitate this, WATG’s master plan is defined by distinctive and self-contained districts of varying densities, connected by regularly spaced transit corridors. The planned resorts, stadium, mosque and premium homes would enjoy prime waterfront sites, while the central urban district connects the sea with the rest of the city. The plan outlines strategies for a mix of housing types in a landscape setting that reflect the varied households of Dagestan. Residential blocks are divided by streets that include discreet parking and soft landscaping. Rooftop gardens and greenhouse facilities are also integrated into the residential architecture, promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle.

The master plan for the New Caspian City has been developed with a full complement of sustainable initiatives in mind. The energy and water that the new city would require could be provided by the existing dams and hydroelectric generators in the mountains. The green corridors that traverse the city offer sites for additional generation of renewable energy through solar cells, wind turbines and groundwater heat exchanges. The green corridors and nearby agricultural zones also provide space for micro food production, orchards and grazing, providing a local source of food.

The sustainability of the entire development depends on the successful introduction of a powerful public transportation network. New Caspian City is intended to be a predominately pedestrian city with high density central business districts, leisure-oriented neighborhoods and a grid of pedestrian walkways. The design philosophy is based on the objective of reducing the need to travel, creating a sustainable and vibrant environment.

Smart development must be thoughtful and deliberate – slow and steady – so WATG’s comprehensive master plan allows New Caspian City to be delivered progressively, responding to the nation’s need, global market forces and development interest over time. The airport, sports city and main resort districts would take shape in the early phases of the project. The teaching facilities, healthcare, civic facilities, commercial space and homes would then establish the community that plants the seeds for long-term growth of the city. The master plan with its defined districts and urban centers permits for phasing at various scales, with core city infrastructure being delivered as demand requires it. Its layout is highly flexible, allowing it to grasp social and economic opportunities as they emerge.

New Caspian City Aerial

THE RESULT: Investing in Dagestan’s Future

Dagestan is well placed to become Russia’s southern international gateway, with New Caspian City providing the catalyst for long-term growth. WATG’s master plan outlines specific strategies that can result in employment for 200,000-250,000 people, education for 100,000 students, over 4,300 hotel beds, and 1,500-2,000 hospital/clinical beds. Sport, business and tourism opportunities along with planned improved transport links will unlock Dagestan’s international and regional potential.

New Caspian City is an opportunity for Dagestan; the citizens are the key stakeholders in the project who benefit from its short-term success but also bear the responsibility for its long-term viability. It will create jobs, boost the local economy, welcome visitors and investment. The master plan is the synthesis of the best contemporary principles in urban design, rooted in a pragmatic and comprehensive system of civic infrastructure and transport.