A general view taken on April 27, 2016 shows construction sites in Dubai.
AFP / MARWAN NAAMANI
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Despite economic downturns, locations such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Qatar continue to commit billions of dollars to lavish urban projects.In 2015, Egypt announced a new city that would replace Cairo as a centre of government. The new administrative capital will be composed of 21 residential districts as well as 40,000 hotel rooms, a theme park and an airport, alongside a range of schools, hospitals and shopping malls, and 91 square kilometres of energy farms.The construction of new towns and cities in Egypt has been a recurring theme since 1976, when Egypt's late President Anwar Sadat launched an ambitious building programme.In Qatar, a $5.5bn scheme called Msheireb will revive Doha's old city centre on a 76-acre site.More than 10 years later, the only daily visitors are its 2,000 staff and the only residents are 300 Masdar Institute students.When completed, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is projected to be home to 2m. The city will cover 70 square miles at a cost of $100bn.
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