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Tomorrowland
March 14, 2012 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Astana, the new capital of Kazakhstan, is brash and grandiose—and wildly attractive to young strivers seeking success.

More on the new Kazakh architecture.
Previously on Kazakhstan
posted by Potomac Avenue (23 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Planned capitals have a patchy history. Brasilia, Canberra, even DC. Organic cities can have livability problems but at least they were caused by people actually trying to live there. From a sociological standpoint I'd be more interested in the civic planning than the individual building architecture.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:04 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Astina - sounds like a nineteen eighties Mazda
posted by mattoxic at 12:41 PM on March 14, 2012


I bet it looks like many other cities at around noon, when these pretty lights and HDR tricks have no real effect.
posted by alex_skazat at 1:15 PM on March 14, 2012


Planned capitals have a patchy history. Brasilia, Canberra ...

Canberra actually has many attractive boulevards and a fountain. Perhaps your criticism is misdirected?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:18 PM on March 14, 2012


Heh, you think those Boulevards in Paris were just accidents :)
posted by alex_skazat at 1:26 PM on March 14, 2012


But does your capital have its own cycling team?
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:28 PM on March 14, 2012


Perhaps your criticism is misdirected?

I didn't exactly level any specific criticism; but all of these places have been famously criticized by others, rightly or wrongly, for some amount of perceived misplanning. I don't have a dog in the fight myself.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:29 PM on March 14, 2012


Joe in Australia: "Canberra actually has many attractive boulevards and a fountain."

A fountain, you say? I had no idea! I shall forward your packet of membership materials for the World's Most Cosmopolitan Cities Club immediately. Do you have mail service yet, or shall I strap it to a passing kangaroo?
posted by Rock Steady at 2:01 PM on March 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


Not going to lie, I think DC needs more fake beaches and we definitelyneed more neon-lit buildings. Party at the Jefferson, whoo! This also makes their embassy and striking gold statue look like paragons of decorative restraint, so maybe there's time yet for them to make 16th St. brash and grandiose...

PS: can they steal more of the McMansions? Maybe directly airlift them out?
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:29 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Silver Spring has been trying that out jetlagaddict!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:12 PM on March 14, 2012


So much hate for Canberra. Tell me, does your capital have Cockington Green? You can marvel at detailed replicas of actual buildings! Or you can visit Acton and marvel at Greg Chappell's cricket cap! Then there is Parliament House, where you can marvel at the 81 meter flagpole.

If you're after night life then you can visit the ACT Rugby Union Club, the Ainslie Football and Social Club, the ANU Union Bar ... the list goes on. Two pages!

And, of course, there is the fountain. You can marvel at it! [PDF]
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:18 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a friend just moved to Astana. It is really really fucking cold there in the winter.
posted by bukvich at 4:51 PM on March 14, 2012


Survivorship bias is at work here, but older planned cities have fared pretty well on the whole, to the point where not many people think of them as planned: St. Petersburg, Baghdad, Istanbul, Alexandria, just to name a few. Even Samarra's still around 700 years after the Abbasids went back to Baghdad.

Also, I'm still rooting for Kazakhstan to get an Olympics. Sochi is up next, so there might be a little weariness over former Soviet cities, but I'd rather see pans over Astana's skyline than whatever mid-size European ski resort will get the games otherwise.
posted by Copronymus at 5:32 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tell me, does your capital have Cockington Green?

I had never heard of this, and now I want to go to Canberra!

I've seen every "Big X" on the East coast (and a few more), I didn't know we ran to small things...

That aside: is Canberra much more planned than Melbourne? The Hoddle grid is essentially an old Roman design - even to the location of the baths, theatres and town hall.
posted by pompomtom at 5:37 PM on March 14, 2012


I really want to go to Astana now.
posted by wilful at 6:27 PM on March 14, 2012


I was just staring at Astana on the map, trying to figure out how Kazakhstan and Malaysia use the same word for "Palace". Turns out it's Persian!
posted by BinGregory at 6:57 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


That aside: is Canberra much more planned than Melbourne?

Well, you could argue that designed is designed, but King O'Malley (not an actual king, unfortunately) had an actual contest to design Australia's capital. Many of Canberra's most attractive features were first envisaged in Walter Burley Griffin's design - although not the fountain, as far as I know. Did you know that when operating at full capacity, the jet can reach a maximum height of 147 metres?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:43 PM on March 14, 2012


Resisting the easy sophomoric temptation to smirk at Cockington Green, here's what the Acton page says about itself:
Succumb to mouth-watering Australian cuisine with French and Asian influences
If I remember my Australian correctly: not a fair dinkum mate, tucker in Oz isn't within a cooee of being mouth-watering.
posted by the cydonian at 11:02 PM on March 14, 2012


Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention: "sthaana" (स्थान) in Sanskrit means "venue", from which you presumably get "aasthaana" (आस्थाना) in Sanskrit, or "royal court". From which, in turn, you get the Malay/ Indonesian "istana" for "palace", which is how the presidential palaces Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are named.
posted by the cydonian at 11:21 PM on March 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


not a fair dinkum mate, tucker in Oz isn't within a cooee of being mouth-watering.
Without being too parochial, I assume you have not eaten in Australia? Or at least not in the last 25 years? While it is expensive (those $20 an hour minimum wages and high exchange rates due to resources booms) the food is pretty awesome.
posted by bystander at 11:48 PM on March 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I remember my Australian correctly

Really?

You couldn't find yourself a lazier stereotype? Maybe something with kangaroos in it?
posted by pompomtom at 6:05 AM on March 15, 2012


There's a recent documentary on Astana that I saw at the Full Frame Documentary Film Fest a couple years ago. I think it was called "Capital". Really good.
posted by statolith at 12:16 PM on March 15, 2012


Planning a capital is no different now as it was century ago. Also other capitals have been reshaped in periods of great economic and political changes. The greater problems are who is in charge of the planning and what are the creative abilities of the architects and designers... Those should be the pressing questions
posted by Valeria Passetti at 5:29 AM on April 10, 2012


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