Ethiopia: City's Public Spaces Refurbishment in the Making

The name Addis Ababa is not simply a capital city. It also represents a city that hosts all nations, nationalities and peoples. It is also a hub of several diplomatic communities that enjoy its natural gifts and inhales its pure oxygen. Above all, Addis represents political transformation and finger prints of political leaders who once had a political domain at the center.

Despite the fact that Addis is the capital city of Ethiopia and Africa as well, it had its own limitations. The metropolis did not properly use its spaces for recreational purposes or did not allot plots to cultural space. Even if blazing buildings had been expanding in all directions from time to time in the city, cultural spaces-that truly represent Ethiopia-were out of the concern of the previous city administrations.

However, the last three years have witnessed huge successes that changed the image of Addis. Shanty houses and riversides that were once filthy and disgusting have become recreational centers that attract the heart of visitors. Villages that once resembled hell have converted into paradise. This included Meskel Square that has a special place for political and cultural events.

According to Addis Ababa University Fine Arts Director Agegnehu Adane, the overall changes that are being witnessed in the city are the true indication of new leadership commitment and dedication. "To change Addis from shanty to paradise within a short period of time either requires magic or commitment."

Despite all the hassles and the criticism, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his administration have demonstrated change in a visible means. The parks and renovation work in Meskel Square are a true indication to this. All the public spaces that are recently inaugurated in the city have social, cultural and economic significance to the nation and they are cultural spaces with priceless aesthetic values.

According to Agegnehu, when cities are livable, they have a potential to attract investors from different parts of the world. "All the parks are the pure impacts of reformation and combined hands of visionary Ethiopians and beside their aesthetic values, having such parks and other cultural spaces have a significant role in attracting investors." As it was indicated by Premier Abiy on the inauguration program recently, those projects that were successfully accomplished within the last years are truly manifestations for the success of Ethiopians' collaborative efforts.

"Together we will turn the Horn of Africa into the Powerhouse of Africa through concerted efforts." As it was also indicated by Addis Ababa Deputy Mayor Adanech Abebie, all the projects that Addis inaugurated recently are the manifestation of the current administration's ability to execute mega projects efficiently. This is especially true of the Meskel Square project that has been equipped with up-to-date facilities including an underground parking space that accommodates 1,400 vehicles at a time.

More From: Ethiopian Herald

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