Building state- of- the- art city

Once the city, whose economy was dependent on activities dominated by traditional markets and hustles is now to turn to epitome of beauty. Once the city, whose streets and rivers were heavily used freely and in archaic cultural ways and full of scrapyards for its residences to dump their garbage, are now on the verge of changing into a state of the arts clean and resilient capital of Africa. Things are changing the eyesore and outmoded images of Addis Ababa as the Prosperity Party has continued in introducing and inaugurating new city development projects almost every day.

Even though critics are being waved from different angles of concerns, the major actors behind these state of the art projects, Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed and Addis Ababa City Mayor Adanech Abiebie including her vice Jantirar Abay say “These are not just projects that we launched by coincidence. They have been well thought out and planed.”

One of the well thought and planed projects in the City is the Addis Ababa Corridor Development, which is also facing very harsh criticism over the social platforms and people who claim to be concerned on its execution. People are still criticizing buildings being demolished as they say most of them are historical and cultural heritages and they should have been preserved. Executive bodies of the project are arguing the other way.

For instance, in a recent evaluation meeting on the progress of the corridor development project, the City Mayor Adanech Abiebie underlined the Premier’s vision to the City noting “The goal of the corridor development is making Addis Ababa magnificent and uplifting its residents’ life style”. The mayor also noted that the plan not only includes improving Addis Ababa but also preserving historical sites and making its residents the beneficiaries of economic development in the city.

Such a developmental step is one of the platforms, which some research groups around the world, agree upon. As “the school of life” suggests there are six principles in order to make a city attractive. They include building a city in a not too chaotic or not too ordered way and ensuring the city supports visible life. It as well must be compact, orientation and mystery should be part of it; scale is necessary, and finally it must be made local.

The on-going city development projects of Addis Ababa based on the above six principles have been described by the officials who are leading taskforces on the frontline. In terms of order and balance, which the first principle needs, Addis Ababa has been in a very chaotic development and there is a need to bring some of the developmental dotes, scattered here and there, together to make the City a new flower as indicated on its name. “This has been an ambitious goal of our administrations, from the first day we came to the ruling,” said Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed on the recent assessment meeting of the City Corridor Development Project implementation.

Adanech Abiebie backs this idea of maintaining order and balance in the City as she explains the start-up jobs and the inaugurated developmental projects like, unity, friendship parks, the Abrehot Library, etc. She noted the squalid villages and that slams have been existing for years together will not bring the balanced beauty that the City deserves.

Thus, one of the city development projects, the City Corridor Development is taking place in selected places, with an order that keeps balance, symmetry and glamor intact. According to Prime Minster Abiy, demolishing unworthy standing old buildings or parts of the City and the thoughts of labelling everything old as a heritage could be hard roads to travel through but joining the dotes of the new development together is the order of the day to go boldly; even if it hurts! This saying of the premier meets the other criteria in making a city attractive, which is avoiding obstacles that gets on the way from making one’s location very unique.

According to international principles, the obstacles to building beautiful cities are not economic ones and collectively countries have enough finance for it. The obstacles come from intellectual confusion around beauty and lack of political will, which officials, politicians, scholars and random residents are still standing in different poles about.

Information indicate that the intellectual confusion is being worried on as to who decide what is beauty. Some investor may come and put on bricks and walls without worrying about the artistic and cultural or historical values of the City but is always alarmed when the developmental project activities impact his or her domains on the ground, said Prime Minister Abiy. Meanwhile, the projects are still being challenged from investors, activists, and social media platforms, whom our political will need to be understood by but we will continue boldly”, said the premier.

According to the mayor Adanech Abiebie “the nature of the projects also provided information on enhanced resettlement provisions for residents affected by new construction. For instance, that requiring larger land replacement, alternative accommodations in Kolfe Keraniyo, Gulele, Nifas Silk Lafto, and Lemi Kura sub-cities was given. Individuals preferring to stay in the downtown areas, housing options in Kirkos, Lideta, and Addis Ketema have been made available. Renters have been given one year’s rent worth of rent in cash and moving expenses until their new accommodations are ready. Those engaged in rental businesses have been assisted in setting up permanent rental facility in suitable locations. More than 550 individuals employed in various small business enterprises outside main roads have been given improved and larger working spaces. Over 400 individuals who expressed financial constraints and opting for government housing have been relocated to newly constructed homes in Kality, offering them an enhanced quality of life.

The Addis Ababa Corridor Development Project is under harsh critics but that is one of the ways to go and the task forces do not forget some of the international principles in making a city attractive or artistic. With the left side matching the right side, colours being harmonized, livelihoods improved, elite groups being watched over and history being preserved, the project task forces are yet to show the world what comes out of the City they are turning upside down for better good.

The prominent figure, Adanech Abebe, who always comes out to the frontline with the Premier, whenever the City launches a demanding project or the country faces hardships, also insured heritages of the old part of the city “Piasa” will be renewed and their historical value remain preserved with the Adwa historical museum.

Based on the principles of building a modern attractive city, the task is not only craving beautiful buildings but also craving the live ones. The City could have sky scrapers and metropolitan blocks but if it is not alive with people from all walks of life it won’t be visible and fit in the values of the state of the art, according to international standards. “That’s why the Addis Ababa Corridor Development project considers, inclusive development by creating opportunity of new housings and better wellbeing for the residents.

Demolishing parts of the city could be hard and criticized for some concerns, but if we have to keep our promise of making the city beautiful as flower, we have to go harshly, said the premier.



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