Back when it was called Stalinabad, former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin reportedly took a personal interest in the greening of his namesake city, now known as Dushanbe. A massive tree-planting initiative accordingly created a green canopy to shade the capital from Tajikistan’s scorching summers.
Even as Istanbul residents celebrated the reopening of Gezi Park, the small green space in the center of this city that sparked anti-government protests throughout Turkey last month, another demolition and another demonstration were busy getting underway. This time, gardens inside Istanbul's old city walls that date back to the 6th century are the target.
Foreign donors and the Mongolian government are pumping millions of dollars into cleaning up Ulaanbaatar’s smoggy winter air, which the US Embassy calls one of Mongolia’s most critical environmental concerns. But as yet another relief project draws to a close, the city has little to show but more stubborn gray haze.
Flamboyant glass-and-steel structures, the brainchildren of Italian and Spanish architects, are causing both shock and awe as they advance on Georgia under President Mikheil Saakashvili’s Grands Travaux campaign. Meant to symbolize a new, transparent Georgia, the buildings have touched off a sharp controversy over whether or not the country’s president should double as its urban-planner-in-chief.