### nytimes.com December 29, 2009
In Iraq, a Plan to Revive the Pulse of an Artery
By Riyadh Mohammed and John Leland
BAGHDAD —Some city planners here do not want to leave to chance what Iraq will look like after American forces leave. Working with the Baghdad municipal government and the provincial council, engineers here have drawn up the largest Iraqi reconstruction project since the American-led invasion of 2003, a $5 billion plan to rebuild the city’s economic and cultural main street.
Rasheed Street, designed by the Ottomans in 1916 and modeled on Paris, has figured in much of Baghdad’s history: Sunnis and Shiites planned the overthrow of British rule in 1920 at Hayder Khana Mosque. The new plans show nine wide plazas and a streetcar passing through a low-slung strip of shops with ironwork balconies that would not be out of place in a small city in Florida. The engineers identified 254 buildings as historical or heritage sites to be preserved where possible; in 1984, there were 526.
Muwafaq al-Taei, an architectural planning engineer, said the reconstruction plans were shortsighted, in part because the car-free zone was unworkable, and in part because Baghdad today lacked the infrastructure — municipal or cultural — to regenerate the life that made Rasheed Street. “You don’t jump to the end product,” he said. “Rasheed is an end product.”
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr