As I’ve mentioned before, the city of Kabul has suffered an immense amount of damage over the years, especially from the recent civil war. Many parts of the city are in rubble and severely damaged, and many peoples homes lost. Yet many people still occupy these destroyed buildings, even though it would be unfit to live according to many parts of the world. That’s just how it currently is in Kabul, and how it seems it will be for the foreseeable future. Many contractors have come to Kabul from the United States, and the United Kingdom, offering bids on renovation projects for the city, hoping to offer some assistance. Theses bids have been enormous however, since the infrastructure itself is destroyed in many parts of the city, including damaged electricity and plumbing. These factors make the scope of the projects very extensive, time consuming, and extremely expensive. A contractor out of Phoenix Arizona (, that helped put one of the renovation bids together said a big reason for the cost is due to the level of mold that is present in the buildings. Fractured piping throughout the city has resulted in extreme water damage that has compromised the integrity of many of the buildings. For this reason, many of the building will have to be completely renovated, and in many cases, entirely replaced. “When the foundation of a structure is affected badly with mold then its never a cheap fix”, said one of the project coordinators. (more…)

20 Sep 2016

City of Light – Kabul


Kabul over the years due to occupation and civil unrest has fallen to rubble in many parts of the city, and much of the cities structures are used for makeshift shelter. Many of us would love to see the great city of Kabul revived and brought back to shine brighter than it ever has with the City of Light development plans. The urban reconstruction plan for Kabul known as City of Light is development project that will revitalized the city of Kabul and rejuvenate commerce and the cities way of living. The plan originally proposed by Hisham N. Ashkouri is a design project that will cover roughly a  3.5km long and 1.75km wide area in the heart of Kabul. When completed the design will embody the art and culture of the city, with colors and patterns similar to the popular rugs and artwork that the city so heavily cherishes. Many contractors have been consulted, and have voiced their opinion on the project, including California businessman Joe Shier. Joe who owns a solar company in Santa Ana California, was said to have consulted on the project regarding proposed solar power, and solar screens for the project. I reached out to Joe at his business and asked more about his thoughts. Joe said the project was intended to resemble past successful development projects using an Arid Region Design Technique relying primarily on concrete for high rises, which will all be fitted with solar screens. Joe said the project was large, and would dramtically change the look and feel of the city. “It would be a beautiful integration of public space, commerce, living, and culture” said Joe about the proposed design. However yesterdays attacks in Kabul, and the overall unrest in the country did make Joe and others skeptical of the project and nervous of its long term success. Like we have discussed here, financing for projects such as this are contingent on high success probabilities and low risk. Lenders will be reluctant to support such an endeavor if they do not see the possibility of a return, and especially if they question if they will even get their original investment back if the city falls into unrest and terrorist attacks. The hopes and dreams of an entire city will most likely go unrealized because of the dogmatic actions of a few extremists. “Nobody wants to invest in a city that might just get blown up.” said John in our last conversation.  (more…)

24 Jul 2016