Asmara's city center needs a facelift
|Asmara's famous Cinema Impero building desperately could use cleaning, plaster, and a fresh coat of paint.|
Asmara's city center needs a facelift
Asmara today, although still beautiful, is not where it should be. I recently asked someone who returned from Eritrea to get his thoughts of the city. He said:
"Asmara's city center has seen better days", which is his nice way of saying the city administrators haven't done their jobs properly.
He added that he doesn't understand why Harnet (Liberation) Ave and its adjacent streets are allowed to have buildings, sidewalks and roads that are in poor shape when these areas are the pulse of the country.
There is no excuse for the city's administrators to allow buildings in and around Harnet Ave to look rundown. It reflects poorly on the government, and also makes visitors less likely to return, which hurts the country financially, since Asmara's city center is the moneymaker in terms of tourism in the country.
To be fair, the city administrators inherited Asmara after it was neglected for 50 years by previous British and Ethiopian administrations. So the deterioration of the buildings, sidewalks and roads was already present long before it was their turn to manage it.
The administrators of Asmara have also started adding improvements to beautify the city this past year. Recently, a community recreational center costing 6 million Nakfa was constructed in the Gejeret Administrative area of Asmara, while a park in the Edaga-Hamus sub-zone of the city received renovations costing 5.5 million Nakfa. Additionally, Asmara's Mai Jah Jah Fountain and its environs are being renovated at a cost of more than 8 million Nakfa (US$532,000).
I know some people reading this are thinking we have bigger issues to spend than beautifying Asmara, but I disagree. Think of the last time you wore a nice looking new outfit and how that made you feel? Did it not make you feel more confident and put you in a better mood? On the other side of the coin, think of the last time you wore something you felt was awful, how did that make you feel? Usually crummy, right? Well, that's the point i'm making. How we present ourselves to the world, regardless if its the clothes on our backs or the city's we live in, impacts our moods and behaviors. So it's important we make sure the city is looking good.
If money is an issue, as it always seems to be the case with states that invest heavily in social services, then the government should focus on the little things to improve the city center. By that I mean the government should provide buildings on Harnet Ave and its adjacent streets with plaster, a fresh coat of paint, and should replace the outdated sidewalks in these areas with something more modern. This will change the appearance of this area significantly while still keeping costs relatively low.
Ultimately, if the city administrators want to maintain any future improvements to the city center's appearance, they should consider passing a law that makes the building owners pay a fine if their building isn't well maintained. To do this, they should create a team of qualified building inspectors to check annually on the conditions these buildings. If they fail the inspections, they should be given a fine, and that money can be used towards its improvement by the state.
First world cities need first world human behaviors
Any improvement to Asmara's appearance must be accompanied by improvements of the people's behavior. That means a ban on all livestock and other animals in the city should be enforced. Nothing screams 3rd world than a donkey aimlessly walking passed you just a few streets from Harnet Ave. Additionally, police need to issue fines for people who litter, jaywalk, urinate, and who don't follow traffic rules. Just because we're a developing country does not mean we have to behave like one.
Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's longtime leader, had the vision for his city that Eritrea needs to adopt for Asmara to turn it into a first world city.
As you can see from these relatively new pictures from Asmara, the city could use some minor work like new sidewalks, more jacaranda and palm trees, plaster and paint work to make it look like its former glory.
Click on images to enlarge
Asmara's city center needs a facelift Reviewed by Admin on 12:55 PM Rating: