In the beginning of May South Caucasian internet edition Chai Khana, launched with support of MYMEDIA, published a new series of stories about the problems of ecology and urbanization. There are 18 stories about architectural transformation of the regions, alternative energy, abandoned industrial zones and the problems of urban development.
“This topic is poorly covered in local media. It is raised only when something really extraordinary happens, like demolition of the buildings and build-up of the parks. This is why we decided to take up the topic” – says Nuard Hovhannisyan, Armenian coordinator of the project. “We were trying to make an objective overview of these problems in South Caucasus, and cover some specific topics such as energy, use of bicycles as urban transport, or transformation of refugee camps into cities” – adds Nuard.
Azerbaijani coordinator of Chai Khana Lala Alieva assures that the topic of urbanization is very urgent in South Caucasus: “In Azerbaijan houses and streets are being destroyed, trees are cut down and are built up with new houses and marble parks. It concerns not only facades of the buildings, ecology and history of the city, but most importantly – it affects people.
Chai Khana pays attention to the problems of the region, caused by urbanization. For example, citizens of the central region of Baku are forcefully resettled to the outskirts with meager compensations for their dwellings that were taken away” – explains Lala. But there are some positive moments as well: “We’ll soon publish a story about “The organization of the green bikers” that encourages to use bicycles instead of cars” – adds she.
There are already 4 stories from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia on the website. The other 14 will be published on the website within the month.
Photo story about the demolition and mass deportation of the people from one of the central streets of Baku Sovetski, on which till 2013 lived over 10 000 families. Mass protests and complaints to the officials, caused by unwillingness of the people to leave their houses, resulted in arrests of some of the activists.
The multimedia story Energy of a Sunny City tells about using sun energy in Yerevan and about worldwide practices of unconventional exploiting of sun batteries that is worth paying attention to for many other regions other than Caucasus.
A piece about architectural reconstruction of Mestia – historical centre of the mountainous region of Georgia, the appearance and identity of which have been seriously changed since building it up with new buildings.
Within a month there will be new stories about the Armenian village inhabited only by 7 pensioners; about plants and factories that were abandoned after the collapse of Soviet Union; about Georgian refugee camp that turned into a real city.
Chai Khana is a multimedia internet-edition that writes about social problems of south Caucasus and is targeted at building a dialog between different ethnic, social, religious groups and promoting the idea of tolerance.
The project was launched in 2014 with financial support of MYMEDIA. Since then there were launched 4 issues: about the national and religious minorities of South Caucasus, people with disabilities, gender and urbanization.