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View: Grid List
Green Mountain Region, Libya
1,500 Ha
Roddy Langmuir
Libyan Engineering Office, Ramboll UK, Al Mada Engineering Consultants, Element Energy, Hyland Edgar Driver, Space Syntax

In the north of Libya, over two years, Cullinans worked on the masterplan of a new, carbon neutral garden city of Shahat.

Shahat Garden City

The existing town of Shahat is located in the renowned Green Mountain region in eastern Libya, only a few kilometres south of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the ancient city of Cyrene. The new, mixed-use development would create homes for 60,000 people over the 1500-hectare site, with connections to the existing town emphasised by carefully planned road links.

Dense neighbourhood centres would be achieved through an abundance of mixed use and adaptable buildings that would allow for growth and change according to commercial and social pressures, with new civic buildings, a university and a central botanical garden. A prototype design was proposed that could be applied to form over eighty new kindergartens and primary and secondary schools, with hilltop centres to be surrounded by rural smallholdings and wadi farms to help integrate the farming culture of the local community into the new masterplan.

The masterplan created a design for low-carbon living through walk-able neighbourhoods, shaded streets, natural cooling and low-energy buildings, wind farms and solar power fields, as well as a better urban environment.


Shahat Garden City - Madinat Hadaek Shahat - is located in Libya’s Green Mountain Region - al Jabel al Akhdar - which is a 270km mile stretch of coastline with a moist and cool climate. The terrain is green with good agricultural land in the wadis and abundant scrub in more exposed areas, with areas of low woodland hosting abundant and often unique plant and animal life, as well as concealing many archaeological secrets yet to be discovered in their entirety.

The Shahat Garden City masterplan has been formed from a deep understanding of what is already there: the incredibly rich and important archaeology and unique biodiversity, but also fragile agriculture, complex topography, modern infrastructure and a diversifying economy.

The masterplan aims to provide a well-connected network of streets and spaces that ensure the long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability of the development. Walking is encouraged to reduce vehicular trips by providing easy access to social and economic infrastructure for both inhabitants and visitors. A hierarchy of movement would be encouraged by controlling permeability and concentrating pedestrian and vehicle movement and activity through key public space to make better neighbourbood centres. Carefully located neighbourhood-specific land uses would ensure that all spaces are well-used, well loved, and have a character that provides a clear identity for both residents and visitors.


The masterplan aims to deliver houses where people love to live, framing streets in which people feel safe and a complete environment where people can choose between privacy and community through homes in which they have pride and feel real ownership.

The landscape can provide many economically productive uses, led by agriculture, but also including forestry, tourism, quarrying, energy generation and waste management. Wherever possible these would minimise the use of resources and encourage the use of local materials. Neighbourhoods are purposefully designed to avoid areas of existing farming and create opportunities for ‘small holdings’ or small orchards, pastures and arable land, generating businesses and a productive landscape edge.


The ‘Garden City’ would bring together the idea of a sustainable town within a landscape for all, following the aspiration of the Cyrene Declaration. A network of paths and a hierarchy of forests, green spaces, shade, shelter, gardens, agriculture, street trees and native flora would create an integrated ecosystem. Through landscape, sustainable economies would be ensured for the future, connecting Shahat Garden City to the landscape of the Green Mountain and linking into the tourism potential of nearby Cyrene.

A botanical garden at the heart of the town would preserve a biodiversity of international importance, with green corridors protecting the habitats and passage of endangered animals and reptiles.

To ensure a pedestrian-friendly masterplan and therefore reduce dependence on the car, neighbourhood centres are set 1000m apart so that every resident is within 500km; a 5 minute walk.

The masterplan incorporates a wind farm and extensive photovoltaic solar fields.