Radar | Nov 09,2019
Mar 30 , 2019
By Haben Mehari
If Addis Abeba’s riverside project can materialise, it can transform the city in a way a similar initiative made Chicago one of the United States’ leading cities, writes Haben Mehari (email@example.com), an entrepreneur and a graduate student at Addis Abeba University.
Increasing human population, uncontrolled urbanisation and inadequate sanitation infrastructure have caused a degradation of Addis Abeba’s rivers. When we travel anywhere around the capital where there is a river nearby, the smell is unbearable. Looking down at them from a bridge or a bank, we can see that our rivers are biologically dead.
The Addis Abeba City River Side City Park Project, with an expected project life of three years, aims to change this and bring our rivers back to life. There is a justifiable scepticism over whether or not the project will be realised, given the poor record of project implementation and the lavish concept designs we have been shown. But none of these factors - which can be avoided with strict follow up - are enough to discredit the importance of rehabilitating Addis’ rivers.
Most European and American cities in the industrial revolution saw increased populations as people were moving from the countrysides into the cities for jobs in factories. It was a time of booming manufacturing but the cities’ environments paid a price. Waste from factories, dumped into water bodies nearby, made rivers unbearable to be near. A prime example of this tendency was Chicago.
The Chicago River ran through the heart of the city and was once full of sewage. It led to the building of a series of canals in the late 19th century to actually reverse the flow of waste away from Lake Michigan to prevent it from contaminating the city’s water supply.
This changed in the 1980s when Chicago’s heavy industry was in retreat and the city was in decline. The mayor of Chicago beginning in the late 1980s was then Richard M. Daley, who went on to bring about an end to Chicago’s decline by beautifying the city.
“If Chicago hoped to become a world-class city, it had to look like one,” he used to say.
More than a century after the city became an industrial hub, the Chicago River Corridor Development Plan, which constructed new trails, parks, overlooks and riverwalks along the Chicago River, was launched. This waterway, far too long dismissed as a dirty and stinky ditch, is now home to a vast array of wildlife, including beavers, turtles and more than 70 species of fish.
On and along the river, people are now fishing, walking, biking, living and working just as their mayor had envisioned back in the 1980s. The Chicago River system has become the anchor of a booming waterfront economy. The Riverwalk is home to many dining options, hosts special events throughout the year, and several river tours and cruises are available.
Gone are the days when the river was stinky and an unsightly place. Nowadays, the most expensive areas to live in Chicago are near the river. The country’s second largest building, Willis Tower, is located near the river, 41pc of the city’s workforce lives within one mile of the Riverwalk and the lowest retail market vacancy rate is near the river. Based on estimates, there are about 1.5 million users of the Riverwalk every day.
Chicago’s Riverwalk shows that public spaces can even pay for themselves. By spurring commercial development opportunity, the Chicago Riverwalk is a great example of how successfully improving rivers captures future value.
Chicago and Addis Abeba have similarities. They have relatively comparable areas, populations and rivers flowing through their centres. Addis Abeba is also a quickly urbanising city with a booming service sector. But while Chicago is now one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Ethiopia’s political, economic and cultural centre is lagging far behind. Fortunately, it is not too late, and with this project, it is possible to transform Addis Ababa into the world-class city it never was.
PUBLISHED ON Mar 30,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 987]
Radar | Nov 09,2019
Radar | Jul 09,2022
Fortune News | Jun 03,2023
Editorial | Oct 12,2019
View From Arada | Apr 16,2022
Photo Gallery | 82511 Views | May 06,2019
Photo Gallery | 74641 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fineline | 58403 Views | Oct 03,2020
Fortune News | 58236 Views | Jul 18,2020
Commentaries | Nov 25,2023
Life Matters |
My Opinion | Nov 25,2023
Sunday with Eden | Nov 18,2023
Agenda | Nov 25,2023
Editorial | Nov 25,2023
Dec 24 , 2022
Biniam Mikru heads the department of cabinet affairs under Mayor Adanech Abiebie. But...
Jul 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
Nov 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
Nov 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two...
Nov 25 , 2023
Ethiopia's quest to develop a functioning capital market is a demanding yet not unach...
Nov 18 , 2023
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has made a fervent call for landlocked Ethiopia to ga...
Nov 11 , 2023
In November last year, a ray of hope pierced the gloomy skies of Ethiopia as the Pret...
Nov 4 , 2023
In the corridors of economic policy-making, a quote often attributed to Albert Einste...
Nov 25 , 2023
Awash International Bank (AIB) posted a striking surge in net profits, reaching 6.9 b...
Nov 25 , 2023 . By BERSABEH GEBRE
A new regulatory measure Djibouti's customs officials enforced led to importers being...
Nov 25 , 2023 . By MUNIR SHEMSU
Minister of Health Lia Tadesse (MD) has displayed her ambition of rolling out a three...
Nov 25 , 2023 . By DAWIT LIDETA
A year after the cessation of hostilities agreement was signed between the Tigray People's Liberation Front(TPLF) and the Federal government...
Or see contact page