The government of Sudan is set to re-design two of its cities from scratch in the shape of animals – a rhino and a giraffe – I interpret this as an urban economic development strategy (and a branding strategy as well). The project should take some 20 years and cost at least $10 million and is aimed at reviving two cities where formal planning and urban management have been largely unenforced:
|The city of Juba (currently a booming economic center but mostly made up of slum developments) is planned to be in
the shape of a rhino.
The region’s second-largest city, Wau, is to be modelled on a giraffe, with a large industrial estate in its neck. Plans for up to 10 other cities are based symbols on their state flags, including pineapples.
“This is very innovative,” said Daniel Wani, from the area’s housing ministry. “The advantage is that there will be uniformity of planning. It will be very easy for future generations to follow our thinking, what we wanted to put in place, because we are not planning for now, we plan for tomorrow.” — “Rhino and giraffe designs planned for Sudan’s rebuilt southern cities” The Telegraph.
|Wau is currently the country’s second-largest city, and
its urban development is set to take the form of a giraffe.
Planning in cities is key and when done from the outset (or, from scratch), can have major potential in promoting a livable environment, sustainable transportation, accessibility and social justice. But planning should always also be responsive to local needs and conditions, and adapt and address these as such. That said, particularly when it comes to an accessible transport system, I wonder if nodal development would be better for this type of environment – I mean, I hope they are considering were the current economic hubs are, where housing is located in relation, and how to tie the two together. But I’m not so sure if these issues are point here; rather, it appears to be the glitz and glamour and attention associated with having cities form in unique shapes…in particular, a giraffe? Really? I would hate to be living at the head…