Addis Abeba's boulevard - Africa Avenue (Bole Road) and surrounding districts - are undergoing a facelift frenzy, driven by ambitious urban renewal projects targeting the capital’s transformation into a modern "smart city". Recent orders from Federal Housing Corporation (FHC) executives and city officials mandate extensive renovations for residential and commercial properties, igniting mixed reactions among residents and business owners alike. For residents of Africare Bole Apartments and other FHC-managed units, the imposition of renovation costs has stirred financial concerns, particularly among those reliant on fixed incomes.

While officials argue that these upgrades are necessary to maintain property standards and conformity with broader development goals, many long-term tenants face the daunting prospect of affordability during worrisome times of rising living costs. Businesses along Africa Avenue, such as Tropical and Friendship malls, are also wrestling with unforeseen expenses to meet new lighting and advertisement standards. The city administration's push for standardised aesthetics extends to advertising, where traditional banners give way to modern light boxes and LED displays. The shift aspires to enhance nighttime visibility and commercial appeal along the city's corridors, though it has left many small business owners uncertain and financially burdened.

Amidst the upheaval, residents and businesses voice concerns over these regulatory changes' abruptness and lack of clarity. While proponents argue for the city's beautification and economic revitalisation, critics point to the disconnect between regulatory demands and practical realities. Many residents are keen to see balancing economic growth with respect for heritage and community input in realising the authorities’ vision for a modern, cohesive urban landscape that reflects Addis Abeba's rich diversity and historical importance.

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PUBLISHED ON Jun 29,2024 [ VOL 25 , NO 1261]

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