Blot On The Landscape

Written By: The Lowdown - Nov• 30•00

cover2000-11Junkyard motif to what used to be pleasurable sight. Of course, for every rule there is the exception. There are a few places on earth that are actually beautified by outdoor advertising. They include New York’s Times Square, London’s Piccadilly Circus and Tokyo’s Ginza. That’s because the billboards in those places don’t obscure the view – they are the view!

Research has also shown that billboards are accident-promoting factors. Analysis of the relation between advertising and increased driver information-processing mental loading defines the problem clearly and for this reason those who have responsibility for road safety prohibit the installation of such billboards in areas deemed particularly at risk. As one of Lusaka’s heavily trafficked junctions, it is likely that the High Court roundabout would qualify for this.

We do sympathise with the Lusaka City Council and can understand why they have ‘leased’ out the maintenance of Lusaka’s roundabouts. As their revenue base has been eroded, they have had to find other ways to fund maintenance of the city’s gardens. But let us do them in a way that lends itself to improving Lusaka aesthetically. For example, Honda is maintaining the roundabout at the junction of Los Angeles Boulevard and Leopard’s Hill Road. They have had the roundabout landscaped in neatly laid out flowerbeds and use it occasionally for advertising purposes, by placing vehicles in the centre of the roundabout. After a few days these are removed and once again, the roundabout is aesthetically pleasing. The roundabout at the south end of Cairo Road is maintained by Zambia Breweries. The billboards are low level and do not detract from the fountain and plants.

Over the years, the pretty spots in Lusaka have diminished. Our parks have fallen into disrepair with little or no effort being put into preserving the plants and trees. Buildings are now being built on the outer areas adjacent to the roundabouts – visit the roundabout at the junction of Los Angeles Boulevard and Addis Ababa Drive. The area at the junction of Chindo Road and Leopard’s Hill Road (see photo on the left ) has been turned into a construction site. Because of the charm of the High Court roundabout, it has become common for wedding parties to have their photographs taken there, and who could blame them when there are few, if any, other places that give a good background for the photographs. If you are getting married and were planning to have your photographs taken there, you had better rethink this, unless you want an enormous black metal sheet in the background of your photograph.

In the future, do we expect that the Cenotaph on the roundabout in Independence Avenue will be surrounded by billboards as well and should Lusaka, which was once referred to as the Garden City, now be called Billboard City?


High Court 1 adjusted

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