By Amina Nazarli
Baku, an extraordinary and impressive capital city of Azerbaijan, today is known far beyond the region thanks to its fairy beauty and sustainable development.
Incredible construction boom of the recent years in Baku, also known as the City of Winds, amazes many by new hotels, office buildings, skyscrapers, sporting complexes and museums of modern art.
The city is quickly rejuvenated and the population of Baku may reach four million people by 2035.
Director of the Baku State Planning Institute Ilgar Isbatov announced about this while talking to reporters on December 22 during the presentation of the Plan of Zoning & Land Use (General Plan) of Baku.
According to the Plan, the population of Greater Baku by 2035 will amount to 3,911,250 people, 3,498,250 of whom will live directly in Baku and 413,000 people in Absheron.
The total number of employed population of the capital will increase from 1.2 million to 1.77 million. Some 1.42 million of them will be engaged in the services sector, while 260,000 people in industry, and 88.500 people in agriculture.
In accordance with the Plan, which covers an area of about 248 hectares, Baku and Absheron will be divided into nine zones - South, North, East, Central, and five peripheral zones. Each area will have its own center.
“The Plan covers issues of accommodation and organization of employment in the city, creation of new recreation areas, as well as prospects for further development of Baku," he said.
Moreover, under the Plan, Baku's Mashtaga settlement is going to turn to Silent City.
Isbatov further said that to reduce the load on the central part of the city, it is planned to move part of the load to Alat settlement.
"In perspective, the Plan involves accommodation of over 200,000 people in Alat until 2035. Measures for decentralization will be undertaken in other areas, as well," he said.
The Alat settlement will be turned into a large transport center with reconstructed railway network. Moreover, new university, hospitals, large shopping area, as well as vocational education institutions specializing in the field of trade will also appear here.
Another considerable change regarding the Absheron Peninsula will be second passenger airport, which is planned to be built in Alat.
"Until 2035, the capacity of the Baku International Airport will fully meet the increasing passenger traffic, but, given the development of tourism and the creation of Alat Free Trade Zone, we believe that there is a need to construct another international airport," he said.
Experts believe that creation of FTZ in Azerbaijan around the Baku International Sea Trade Port in Alat settlement is a project with a great future, as it's good opportunity for attracting cargo traffic and investments to Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani government and Dubai Port World (DP World), one of the world’s major port operators, signed an agreement on provision of consulting services for the creation of the free trade zone in Alat.
Chair of the State Committee for Urban Planning & Architecture Abbas Alasgarov , in turn, stated that the Plan is a continuation of the previously-made Plan of Greater Baku Regional Development.
"This is a planning document with scale of 1:10000. The project is aimed at interagency coordination," he stated.
Aleskerov added that the Plan of Zoning and Land Use of Baku was made given the prospects of future development of the capital until 2035.