It’s not a wall, it’s a mural! Youth and artists “Imagine Accra” in Kanda community

Local artists and youth at work.

Lire en français These days, commuters and residents along the Kanda Expressway between Kawukudi and Kanda have a new view along their community landscape: a bright, expressive art mural at Club 10 junction, painted on a family’s high, cement wall and running more than 50 feet long. “Imagine Accra,” the mural commands in bold, curving… Continue reading It’s not a wall, it’s a mural! Youth and artists “Imagine Accra” in Kanda community

Exploring the slave castle, tourism and urban economic opportunity at Cape Coast

Inside a chamber of the male dungeon, three American tourists listen to tour guide Kwabena Kumi recount the history and circumstances of the location.

“Please, it’s somehow deep,” the tour guide warns as each member of the group climbs down into the dark cell. “Come closer and take a look, but watch your head.” Each descends, one by one, away from the slave castle’s bright exterior and into an inner chamber, engulfed in near total darkness. This is Cape Coast,… Continue reading Exploring the slave castle, tourism and urban economic opportunity at Cape Coast

The Chale Wote street art festival, and a discussion on local tourism for James Town

The second installment of the Chale Wote Street Art Festival took place yesterday in Jamestown, the historic section of Accra. The event, produced by Accra[DOT]alt, aims at creating a space for creativity and art in the neighborhood and attracting residents and fans to this historic and culturally rich area in Ghana’s capital city. Last year,… Continue reading The Chale Wote street art festival, and a discussion on local tourism for James Town

Exploring traditional African architecture and urban design

The traditional, or indigenous, forms of West African design, architecture and planning can on first glance appear low-tech and plebeian: we imagine mud-brick houses and thatched roofs commonplace to rural communities, untarred roads, dilapidated structures, the lack of “improved” technologies like electricity, plumbing and piped water systems, and an agriculture-based economy. But on deeper introspection, we see… Continue reading Exploring traditional African architecture and urban design

A Self-invented Bike Culture in Accra

BIKE LORDZ is a short documentary about the self-taught, self-invented bicycle culture among young people (mostly young men), which has been created, refined and passed on to younger contemporaries over time. The film follows crews of these young bicycle “lordz” as they practice, discuss and hone their craft, perform and try to use their skills… Continue reading A Self-invented Bike Culture in Accra

How to Balance Preservation of Past with Needs of Present, Future?

I recently came across a few months old New York Times feature story on the city of Djenné, Mali, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since this impressive recognition of the ancient city’s historical and cultural significance, one of the challenges for city residents has been to balance the strict requirements of UNESCO with their present… Continue reading How to Balance Preservation of Past with Needs of Present, Future?

Creating a “Cultural Capital”: Transforming Accra into a Hub for Arts, Entertainment, Culture

Cities are increasingly embracing their local culture as an opportunity to create a distinctive sense of “place,” to improve their image locally and globally, to attract visitors and to stimulate urban economic development. With funding from the United Cities and Local Governments organisation, the city of Accra received substantial funding to promote a cultural mapping project… Continue reading Creating a “Cultural Capital”: Transforming Accra into a Hub for Arts, Entertainment, Culture