Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An ambitious plan to turn African city into the shape of a rhino

Southern Sudan is about to hold a referendum to try to achieve independence from the north. The January referendum is expected to pass and will soon create the world's newest country. Already the future government has plans to design the cities that is drawing criticism and laughs.

Southern Sudan hopes to reshape the cities to look like animals from above. The 10 billion dollar project is more than the new country's planned budget of 1.9 billion. The strange designs and plans come despite a lack of basic services to the people like water and roads.

From this Associated Press article that we found at Google News, writer Maggie Fick talks about this strange concept.

The $10 billion concept will take decades to carry out, officials concede, though it may never escape the planning stages. The southern government's own 2010 budget was only $1.9 billion, and the U.N. says more than 90 percent of Southern Sudan's population lives on less than $1 a day.

The plans have evoked bemused smiles — or outright laughter — in Juba, a town that until two years ago barely had any paved roads.

"It doesn't seem like the (Government of Southern Sudan) should be using its resources or staff time when the people of Southern Sudan lack basic services like health care and water," Nora Petty, an aid worker in Juba with the Malaria Consortium.

Government officials concede that a lot of money is needed to finance the project, which includes a plan to transform two state capitals into the shapes of a giraffe and a pineapple.

Juba — the capital of Southern Sudan — is to be reshaped into a compact rhino with two pointy horns. The new area will be called "Rhino City."

Officials said the plan would bring order to the city's chaotic layout.

"Juba is made up of slums," said Jemma Kumba, the minister of housing and physical planning.

If the animal-shaped towns come to be, they will join other famously shaped cities around the world. Dubai created several palm-shaped residential islands off its coast. In Argentina, planners shaped the town of Ciudad Evita into the form of Eva Peron, an actress and wife of former President Juan Peron who was known as Evita.

Of course, per capita income in the United Arab Emirates, where Dubai is located, is around $42,000 a year. In Sudan, it's just $2,300.

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