On “Town Planning in West Africa”

The more things change, the more they stay the same? A familiar depiction of present-day Accra, Ghana, but this speech was made in 1946:

“Accra is a town like Freetown. During the war, its water and electric services have had to do double work, and it has surprised me that they have managed to go [...]

Dakar and Gorée Island: Linking history, tourism and local economies

With its just over one thousand residents, Gorée Island sits two kilometers (1.2 miles) off the coast of Dakar, Senegal. For tourists, the small island is a recognized cultural destination and UNESCO World Heritage site, based on its famed history as a slave-trading station as part of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. But for island’s residents [...]

In Dakar, a graffiti festival connects artists, cultures and ideas

A graffiti artist recreates the bust of Thomas Sankara on a wall at Biscuterie de Médina in Dakar, Senegal as part of Festigraff 2014.

For 10 days in April, graffiti artists from around the world gathered in Dakar, Senegal for the fifth annual Festigraff, the Festival international de Graffiti en Afrique/Senegal.

While the term “graffiti” can carry a negative connotation, spray can art is Dakar’s most ubiquitous urban art expression, ranging from vandalism to approved and encouraged art. As [...]

Dakar: A city full of color


Here in Dakar, it seems that the entire urban landscape is full of color: The walls, the sidewalks, the transport, houses and buildings, as well as the bright clothes of urban dwellers themselves. For example, the bright contrast between the light brown sands of this Sahelian city and the azure sky. The walls dressed in [...]

Dakar: Who wouldn’t love a city with all this graffiti and wall art?

straightened wall art

Bonjour de Dakar!

Here, graffiti is everywhere; it’s as if every wall is an opportunity for artistic, political and/or social statement. The more you look, the more you can learn about the city, its people, and their sentiments.

It’s my first day in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, and one of the first things [...]

African Urbanism’s in The Guardian! And more reasons you should follow their Cities site

African Urbanism author Victoria Okoye at Black Star Square (Independence Square) in Accra, Ghana. (Photo Credit: Abena Annan)

If you haven’t discovered it already, The Guardian has started a Cities site, thanks to funding from the Rockefeller Foundation. Here are some fantastic reasons why you should be following this initiative:


Schools prepare for Independence Day, Ghana style [video]


As March 6th approaches, in schools all over the country, teachers and students prepare for the infamous Independence Day parades. A celebrated ritual of patriotism on national days, children file along roads, marching in line to music in synchronized steps.

Here’s a short video of students in a school in Ghana’s Central Region preparing for [...]

Started from the bottom, now we’re…


…. featured on the Guardian Cities website as one of the 50 “best city blogs around the world!” (not my words, theirs, but I’ll still accept the compliment.)


Bread, bread and more bread in East Akim


So one of many things I have in common with Ghanaians is my love for bread.

After a meeting at the East Akim Municipal Assembly in Kibi today, a colleague led me to a totally hidden gem behind the Assembly’s office.

Bakery in Kibi, East Akim Municipality in Ghana’s Eastern Region.

Up a small [...]

On water improvements: Access, attitudes and economics


When it comes to sustainable improvements in community water and sanitation access, the “hardware” (physical facility) is just the beginning – it’s the “software” (changing attitudes, behaviors, mindsets) that makes the difference. Equally important is addressing the economic dynamics that govern people’s water vending and purchasing behavior.

In the peri-urban community of Manhean, in Ghana’s [...]

What about Africa’s rural communities?


When we talk about African urbanism, we often forget (or neglect) the inextricable linkages between Africa’s towns and cities and the (still very prominent) rural areas. That aluguntugui (sour sap) that we buy in the market, the yam, the cassava, the plantain, where does it come from?

Woman, aluguntugui, generosity. Central Region, Ghana.


Accra: Marching against Monsanto, a group aims to build momentum for a lasting movement

Elvis Agyei-Manu with Food Sovereignty Ghana shares the anti-GMO message with local media.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Saturday morning commerce at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, a group of activists assemble. They start out at the city’s largest roundabout – Kwame Nkrumah Circle — where passerbys, vendors and traffic come together. This group of activists, brandishing their placards, have come together to protest against the multinational company Monsanto. [...]