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In collaboration with Space Syntax, Expedition were appointed by the City of Nur Sultan (formally Astana) to develop a masterplan to guide development to 2030 and beyond. We are working to deliver a vision that supports the city’s ambition to strengthen its regional & global importance as well as meet global climate targets.

The city lies on the Ustyurt plateau and has an extreme continental climate. The River Isil runs through the heart of the city, but has been engineered to deal with the spring snow melts which have historically led to flooding. Coal fired combined heat and power units provide the city’s heat contributing which coupled with a car dominated movement and poor building quality, contribute to a reasonably high carbon footprint. Recent development has sprawled beyond the city limits with significant issues in relation to the cost of maintenance and provision of infrastructure systems.

Against this backdrop of challenges, our role was to develop the energy, waste and sustainable water management strategies for the city. A key focus of the masterplan was to intensify and retrofit the existing city fabric and infrastructure to create a healthy, liveable and sustainable city. To do this we undertook a baseline analysis and then proposed strategies at the city scale and for neighbourhood improvements.

We have developed city-wide route maps for energy and waste along with environmental modelling to advise on masterplan design. Modelling has also been carried out to locate solar panels in new masterplan areas & locate wind turbines offsite where wind dominant. Both route maps have been tailormade to transition from Astana’s existing strategy including policy route maps and, importantly, funding advice on how to get there.

Our proposed energy strategy shows two pathways to net zero carbon. The first approach places a strong focus on passive upfront measures with reduced renewables and the second opts for a slower uptake of passive new build and retrofit measures resulting in larger investment in renewables.

The output of our work has delivered:

  • A route map to zero carbon and zero waste city including specific technical solutions, enabling policy interventions and funding and financing models.
  • Environmental modelling to inform massing and orientation, specifically to mitigate extreme summer and winter conditions to create a comfortable microclimate and support greater activity in streets.
  • Sustainable drainage solutions to mitigate flood risk, including dealing with snow melt, and to bring greater biodiversity into the city.
  • Infrastructure solutions for Technopark, a model for sustainable regeneration.
  • Proposals for a Clean Industry Hub to revitalise a former industrial part of the city based on the principles of the circular economy.

The value of our work has been to set clear infrastructure proposals, but also underpin these with a long term delivery strategy.


Judith Sykes
Fred Labbé
Andrew Komarnycky
Daniel Raymond
Laetitia Pancrazi
Sapna Halai

Client: City of Nur-Sultan

Architect: Space Syntax

Nur-Sultan 2030 Masterplan