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Local Innovation

Money in a slum: the logic of small gains

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Dagna Rams is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Social and Political Science at the University of Lausanne, researching urban management and the politics and economies at the heart of the slum communities/informal settlements of Old Fadama and Agbogbloshie (Ghana). On a research outing around one of Accra’s informal settlements, my friend Abdallah (a slum activist…

On water improvements: Access, attitudes and economics

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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 Greater Accra Region, there’s…

Use, Misuse and Reuse: Buildings Function in Doula, Cameroon

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In her article “Intertwined Architectures,” in ArchiAfrika’s  March newsletter, author Danièle  Diwouta-Kotto discusses the use, misuse and reuse of buildings in contemporary Douala, Cameroon, and the significant changes and deterioration of these buildings over time: “The colonial built environment is a shared heritage, part of the Douala architectural history. However, the bond between the city…

Construction for BRT Project Set to Begin

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In order to address massive congestion throughout the Greater Accra Region, the Ghana’s government, in collaboration with the World Bank, Global Environment Facility and French Development Agency have launched a USD 46million Urban Transport Project, a five-tiered project aimed at regulating and improving urban transport in two major cities: Accra, the southern capital, and Kumasi…

Accra: Informal Approaches to Mixed-Use Development

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Plainly speaking, mixed-use development is the practice of having more than one form of “use” or activity (e.g., residential, commercial, office, recreational, industry) in a building or building complex. “Mixed use,” in city planning terms then, is a combination of these activities in one space. Some of the most common forms of mixed-use activity include…

Things I should have done in school…

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Setting up design challenges for myself, to keep my skills up! Currently fiddling around with Google Sketchup trying to replicate this, a house in Warri, Nigeria: Here’s what I came up. At least it resembles the house, although it needs a bit of work. Not too bad for a first try…

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