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Opinion: In the Eye of the Beholder.

Byline: The Tripoli Post

Summary: If beauty Auas it has been said for thousands of years- is in the eyes of the beholder, then the city planners of the past three decades for Gharian must have been completely blind.

If beauty Auas it has been said for thousands of years- is in the eyes of the beholder, then the city planners of the past three decades for Gharian must have been completely blind.

Arguably the fourth largest city in Libya, with a population of 397,000 (2006 census, foreigners 5%), it is devoid of any buildings with intrinsic identity, or even any beautifying projects. The only buildings with some interesting features are probably two recently built mosques. One is eye-catching with its green glasswork and the other with its two domes.

The rest of the town is a sprawling haphazard mix of administration buildings, state housing, schools and rows of nondescript shops, all of which were originally built in an ugly seventies style.

Run down buildings have been left to deteriorate even more; apartment buildings abandoned at second or third floor level (the building contractor probably unpaid), an unfinished bathroom equipment (sinks, baths, w.cAAEs) factory in Burshada and the list could go on.

This imposes a question on any mind: where did the state funding for this town go? Some of it was spent here obviously, but itAAEs a miserable excuse for a town touted as a tourist area.

A few spots here and there have been renovated and enhanced, such as the entrance road to the town. A fountain was built shaped in a local theme: the locally made AaebarradaAAE- a water jug made of fired clay- which through the process of evaporation cools the water inside it.

Unfortunately, water no longer flows in this fountain. Trees have been planted by the sides and middle of the road, many streets have been paved and work is continuing. GharianAAEs General Hospital- the main hospital for the Gebel Gharbi region, has undergone renovation and enhancement. These changes have occurred in the past three years or so.

There are new people in the Planning Department and new development plans for the town which seem to be composed mainly of public housing projects and modern school buildings. Granted that these are urgent necessities, but there are other basic requirements that should be seriously considered. In a region that sees a relatively higher rainfall rate than other Libyan cities and towns, Gharian is not as green as it could be.

There are no wide open green spaces, no large number of trees anywhere when all the streets should be tree lined; how much does a sapling cost?

The town has a reputation for the cheapest fruit and vegetable market in Libya, but lacks a decent modern marketplace.

A great effort has been made to keep the main streets clean with garbage collected on time, but the inner housing areas are not completely covered by this service. Even flying plastic bags and paper waste is now and then collected from the outlying roadsides surrounding Gharian and gathered in large plastic bags. The problem is that these bags are sometimes left out on the roadsides for days.

However, I am told that the new projects do include recreational areas for children and new football stadiums. Why is it always football? Why not swimming, horse riding and archery? These three sports in particular, are stressed in a Hadith (narration) of the prophet Muhammad, regarding childrenAAEs education.

Perhaps the town planners should be have been given a tour of the most beautiful towns in the world first, before undertaking the task. The inner and outer AaeedgesAAE of the town overlook the surrounding hills and valleys and are very scenic areas, that might contain cafes and restaurants in the future, but not for now.

Why isnAAEt all this planning put forward publicly for discussion first? The answer to that IAAEm told is because most of the plans come from the General Secretariat in Tripoli. As usual, the question regarding the finer points of what the locals really want is never asked.

A[umlaut] 2008 - The Tripoli Post

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Publication:The Tripoli Post (Tripoli, Libya)
Date:Jul 6, 2008
Words:697
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