North Korea has started work on a sprawling 10,000-apartment residential project as the country embarks on a housing drive in its capital, Pyongyang.
Though few design details have been disclosed, digital renderings of the development show towers rising on both sides of a leafy boulevard in an area of the capital called Hwasong. A larger skyscraper, which appears to be at least 40 stories tall, is also depicted in the plans.
In a speech titled “Let Us Further Glorify the Golden Age of Capital City Construction by Bringing about a Sea Change in the Hwasong Area,” Kim thanked construction workers and army personnel at the ceremony, according to Sunday’s edition of North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper. The state-run paper claimed that the project demonstrated the regime’s commitment to creating a “new world of a prosperous power where the people enjoy the highest dignity and the best happiness.”
Kim Jong Un pictured in front of an artistic rendering of the new development. Credit: EyePress News/Shutterstock
The development forms part of a wider housing drive that has seen the government promise 50,000 new homes in Pyongyang before the end of 2025. But the pledge, announced at the Workers’ Party of Korea Congress last year, comes as North Korea grapples with sanctions over its nuclear weapons program and plummeting trade with its closest ally, China. The country’s economy has been in freefall since 2020, when Kim’s government closed its borders due to Covid-19, though rail freight transport has resumed as of last month.
A 3D visualization of the development shows a tall skyscraper on the left, with other towers lining a wide street. Credit: EyePress News/Shutterstock
Yet, construction projects continue to be used in state propaganda to promote the government’s achievements.
A documentary broadcast in North Korea last month, titled “The Great Year of Victory 2021,” showed Kim visiting a construction site alongside images of an 80-story skyscraper and a large apartment district. Work at Hwasong began just days before the country marks what would have been the late former leader Kim Jong Il’s 80th birthday.
The new development is one of several high-rise projects announced in recent years in Pyongyang, where residents enjoy a significantly better quality of life than anywhere else in the country.
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The country’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has previously boasted about so-called “Pyongyang Speed,” claiming to have completed the frame of a 70-story skyscraper at Ryomyong New Town in just 74 days. But some experts have raised concerns about the quality of construction materials, as well as the level of technical know-how and the pace at which work is sometimes carried out.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the development took place Saturday. Credit: EyePress News/Shutterstock
KCNA later attributed the disaster to “sloppy building” and “irresponsible supervision of officials.”
Top image caption: A 3D rendering showing the new residential project.