Bahrain will soon start construction of a “green town”, which will include government houses, schools, a library, a theatre, a health centre, natural sanctuaries, a botanical garden and public parks, said a top official.
Blueprints for the project also feature luxurious villas and eco-friendly commercial and office buildings which will be built on private plots.
Bus stations, new road works and pedestrian walkways that extend up to 400 metres will also be built along with a railway station for a $25 billion project that will link Bahrain and other GCC countries through a 2,117km network.
The new town will cover 356 hectares - 174 hectares in the Northern Governorate and 182 in the Capital Governorate and will include parts of Bilad Al Qadeem, Khamis, Adhari, Salhiya, Tashan and Burhama.
Its allocated land is already protected as a greenbelt, meaning development is banned and would consist of thousands of palm trees and other plantations.
The plans were drawn up by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry in co-ordination with ministries concerned and government bodies, following proposals by the Northern and Manama Municipal Councils in October 2010.
They also ensure the area will be utilised to serve both urbanisation and greenery, said ministry General Directorate of Urban Planning regional planning department chief Fares Ameen at yesterday's Northern Municipal Council meeting.
'The green town will be as its name indicates green in the utmost way possible, keeping in mind that new developments, whether government or private, will be built on 30 per cent of each individual plot while 70 per cent will remain trees and greenery,' he said.
'It means that we will have three types of urbanisation: mixed-use agricultural gardens, mixed-use residential apartment gardens and mixed-use government office gardens, which implies that development will be covered with greenery.
'For example, it will be a school surrounded by trees or commercial buildings embedded within a plantation sort of environment.'
Ameen said the government would take up to 30 per cent of private plots for infrastructure facilities such as power station, bus stops and road networks.
'We will take 20 per cent from small plots and 30 per cent from big plots which will be used for power stations, railway and bus stations, new road networks that will connect the area from Dana Mall to the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway near Adhari,' he explained.
'And to construct pedestrian walkways and paths that are designed as interconnecting circles that stretch up to 400 metres to ensure that vehicles are parked far away and don't pollute the environmental-friendly atmosphere.'
Meanwhile, the directorate's town urban planner Joel R Oana said some businesses have been set up in the greenbelt despite the development ban in 418 plots.
'There are some businesses built in the greenbelt area, but they don't follow the proper standards on how the place should look like, but it is easy to incorporate them within the new blueprint with some enhancements to the way they stand,' he added.
'Our plans are eco-friendly and will ensure that the place remains protected from global warming and pollution, while at the same time enable urbanisation and modern development, that will strike the balance necessary to revive the area.'
Northern Municipal Council vice-chairman Sayed Ahmed Al Alawi hoped the new town, which covers most of his constituency, would be built in the next 18 years to be in line with Bahrain's Vision 2030.
'On paper and through government promises the project seems to be incredibly amazing, but until it gets implemented through phases it will just be beautiful artist impressions,' he said.