Naming public streets and buildings after individuals who are still alive is not inappropriate at all. There are individuals who have made lots of contribution to the society and humanity. Celebrating them while they are alive is a way of appreciating the contribution they have made to society. Naming public streets and buildings after them is one way of recognizing such contributions.
Many times streets and buildings are given names to individuals when they are long dead and gone. This denies them the chance to have the sensation of being recognized for what they mean to the society. For me, naming them after they are dead is inconsequential to them. They have a right to know that they are and will be remembered for the efforts they make.
The problem, however, comes when the object of naming is of a derogative nature. People do not want to be named after bad things. Individuals try so much to safeguard their reputation. Certain types of naming defame people’s character. For instance, a street associated with antisocial behaviors being named after and individual destroys his reputation a great deal.
This naming could be a big issue especially where the street is associated with all manner of evils and is named after a respectable individual. It paints him publicly in a very negative light. This should be discouraged due to its potential to destroy an individual emotionally, mentally and even economically.
It is not acceptable to associate an individual who is reputable with a street or a building whose reputation does not match his. I believe that such a person has the right to sue for damages in the event that this occurs.
Where the name is given appropriately, and the city council decides to rename it, the city may be responsible for the costs incurred to the businesses. However, this depends on the justification for renaming. If it is in line with the law and it is done in such a way as to avoid damages to the individual, the city does not have to incur any costs.
In some instances, the city council may decide to rename a street without following the laid down procedures. This may cause damage to a business of an individual. In such a situation, they ought to incur costs for the associated damages.
As such, naming and renaming of the businesses should be done very carefully to ensure that the advantages that accrue from such naming outweigh the disadvantages. It should also be conducted in a way that brings gratification to those involved and the entire society.
The council, therefore, should consider very carefully the naming of the streets. They should not rush into renaming without proper justification for doing so. Where the street does not meet the standards of the name given to it, it may be changed.
Again, where the council renames the buildings or streets without due consideration of the law and needs of individuals, they should not be as rigid as to refuse to compromise. The naming should not bring more harm than good to the individuals. It should make them happier than sad.
The council should also take it as an initiative to look for individuals who use other people’s names for their own economic benefits. Names are valuable trademarks and their usage ought to be protected. Deserving individuals should not lose out due to others who take advantage of them.
As an individual, I would encourage the naming of buildings and public streets after individuals while they are still alive. However, such naming has to be done in such a way that it gratifies such individuals. It should not assassinate their character.
If named while am living, I would take it positively especially where the name embodies my contribution to society. I would be an asset to the council in ensuring that the names are given appropriately and that inappropriate naming is discouraged at all costs.
I would also try to discourage the idea of waiting until the demise of a renowned individual and naming him when he has no idea about it at all. Heroes have to be celebrated and celebrating them during the lifetime is not such a bad idea. Naming buildings and streets after them is the starting point.