Tashkent and Seattle: New Possibilities as Sister Cities
Okibat Mahalla* Guzar**
Sister city relationships are an excellent form of unity. The cities of Seattle and Tashkent became sisters in January 1973. At the time the agreement was signed, an 18-year-old Bill Gates had already founded his first company in Seattle. But to this day, that leading IT firm, born in Seattle nearly half a century ago, has no office in its sister city of Tashkent or headquarters in Uzbekistan—the most populous country in Central Asia. Since 2008, Bill Gates has shifted his focus to philanthropy. He is active in addressing climate change and has called for humans to turn things around by 2050. Failing to do so would mean a significant part of Uzbekistan’s territory will become uninhabitable.
Kazimov’s project draws our attention to the importance of innovations in city planning programming that would factor in changing temperatures and climates in order to protect his hometown’s ecosystems. If they don’t exist yet, that just means it’s time to develop them—maybe as part of a collaboration.
*A mahalla is the equivalent of a neighborhood or city district
**A guzar is the institutional center of a mahalla
Vakhid Kazimov is an early-career artist hailing from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. His public art project draws on the fascinating history of the city where he was born and raised. He enjoys drawing, chess, and swimming, as well as fiction and popular science books.