PLANNING AWKA CITY –LEARNING FROM ROME BY FRANCIS OKOYE

I was privileged to visit Rome in 2015 from the 8th of May, 2015 to the 14th of May, 2015, and made several critical observations which can be of use in the planning of and development of Awka Capital. This can be incorporated in the master plan of Awka and other cities in the South-East.

1. ROADS AND TRANSPORT
Rail line connects the city surrounding to the center. The roads were wide enough to allow parking on both sides of the road. On the road parking portions marked out, they are specific areas where the refuse bin are placed and where bus stop and pick passengers.

Another road known as the GRA runs round the city of Rome. The parking on the road is for both motorcycles and vehicles. They do not park inside compounds or garages. They are also few places mapped out as parking lots in some parts of the city. In this way, they are able to welcome millions of visitors yearly to Rome without any traffic congestion or parking problems, as is the case in cities like Lagos. They also have TRAMS – Trains that run in the middle of the roads. Heavy duty vehicles do not ply during the day in the city except buses..

2. TREFFIC LIGHTS AND CONTROL
There are traffic lights and control at every junction in Rome. The traffic lights are for both vehicles and human.

3. TAXI
Taxi’s have meter inside and a computerized street map of Rome, that directs the driver on which part of road to take. Fare depends on the number of minutes you spend on the taxi before you reach your destination.

4. REFUSE COLLECTION
They are an average of 12 refuse bins per street in Rome. The refuse are classified into categories: Cartoon/paper items, food items, plastics and glass. I did not see any refuse overflowing or any refuse dump throughout my stay being carried away by vehicles. I was told they do that at night.

5. GREEN AREA
They are still forest areas and Green Areas in the center of Rome.

6. MASSIVE BLOCK OF FLATS
They were no bungalows or duplex that I saw but massive blocks of flats that were close to each other, ranging from 20 flats to 100 flats. These areas often have the ground floor used as a bank, restaurant or shop. Some are hotels also.

I did not see any new or ongoing construction in the city, and was told that the youngest building is hundred years old, while some are one thousand, five hundred years old, like the Obelix and Parthenon.

7. TOURIST ATTRACTION
Old structures and buildings were not demolished but served as Tourist Attractions; they are about 900 churches of the Catholics in Rome and few Protestant churches. Visitors also visit them. They are museums, botanical gardens, zoos and parks, water fountains, public scruptures etc.

8. SECURITY
They were police patrol vans parked at specific parts of the city,but most of the policemen are on plain clothes, as I did not see up to 6 police patrol vans/police men in group’s throughout my stay I did not see any police check point or police harassing motorist.