Same weather: harsh winters, warm summers with lots of mosquitoes.
Same population (Astana: about 700,000; Winnipeg: about 600,000)
Same geography: pretty flat with a river (the Ishim) running through the city.
Money. The government is pouring money into this city (much to the resentment of the rest of the country). So there is construction going on everywhere. Cranes atop almost every tall building, work crews hanging off low rise buildings refacing them, work crews on the boardwalk by the river painting railings and re-doing the interlocking stones.
Here's the boardwalk behind my apartment building. It goes on forever and is very scenic.
Here's the view facing the other way. The tall yellow building houses the Ram Store.
This is my apartment building. I live in the block furthest to the right on the top floor. This block is part of a warren of identical buildings that go on for quite a way. There is little to distinguish them from one another and I have walked into the wrong one twice.