features

Public Life/Public Space

Join the #TalkingSpaces Twitter Discussions on Child-Friendly Public Spaces

  The city of Accra, Ghana, like others around Africa, is expanding at a rapid pace. The pressure on the ground in the metropolis to make way for urban development translates into the cutting down age-old trees, and the taking over of play grounds, parks, waterways, and other essential community resources.  City authorities’ plans and the competing, uncoordinated priorities of city dwellers, vendors,… … Keep Reading

For African cities, ‘tactical urbanism’ has its limits

It was a few years ago that the framework of tactical urbanism, a concept particularly promoted and popularized by U.S. planning design firm Street Plans Collaborative, gained traction, particularly in the United States and European contexts. The idea of tactical urbanism refers to locally led, low-cost and short-term built environment interventions aimed at improving local… … Keep Reading

Money in a slum: the logic of small gains

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… … Keep Reading

culture + heritage

urban (in)formality

Money in a slum: the logic of small gains

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… … Keep Reading

Accra: Sensing the City Through Sound

In May, African Urbanism contributed to MIT’s Community Innovation Lab (CoLab Radio) “Listening to the City” series. The series includes sounds from cities such as a market in Mexico City, a struggling street market in Thessaloniki, Greece, and sounds of Los Angeles’ street economy. What do other cities sound like? Read descriptions of other cities included in the… … Keep Reading

learning

African Urbanism Conversations / 001 / Agbogbloshie

In this first African Urbanism Conversation, participants discuss the urban development, social, political, economic and environmental context of Agbogbloshie and Old Fadama, often typified as “Africa’s largest e-waste dump.” The conversation provides local context for a better understanding of what’s happening in Agbogbloshie and Old Fadama, and how the sites are intricately interlinked and connected to… … Keep Reading

Learning

Sustainable Cities conference bridges cultures, demonstrates shared experiences on public spaces

The challenges of traffic congestion, civic engagement and shrinking public spaces are key themes for cities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; these same challenges cut across West Africa’s cities, too. November 4-5, African Urbanism participated in the conference “Towards a Roadmap for Sustainable Cities in the MENA Region” in Beirut, Lebanon,… … Keep Reading

Learning/Urbanism from Ghana

Exploring “Oxford Street”: Author Ato Quayson shares insights from new book

Prof. Ato Quayson’s new book Oxford Street: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism explores the history and dynamics of one of Accra’s most popular and globalized streets – the stretch of Oxford Street in the Osu district. Quayson is a professor of English and director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University… … Keep Reading

projects

A PARK(ing) Day in Accra, Ghana: Transforming car spaces into people’s spaces, for a weekend

Here in Accra, Ghana, PARK(ing) Day came a little bit early this year (around the world, it’s to be celebrated on September 20th this year). But the essence of what we celebrated and promoted — transforming a car park into a people’s park to demonstrate the importance of public spaces, community activity and recreation —… … Keep Reading

Projects

Whose city is it, anyway?

The residents who form the backbone of Accra’s economy live in poor, high-density areas and are open to harassment by authorities. To develop into a fair and livable city, Accra will need to resolve this and other issues of inequality, says Victoria Okoye for UrbanAfrica.net. “Accra has always had a dual personality, right from its beginnings,”… … Keep Reading

Projects

Water issues in Lagos

Above: The branding of the Lagos Water Corporation, the state-level agency charged with overseeing the water operations and distribution for Lagos State. While I was in Lagos, I had the opportunity to speak with two key officials to learn more about the costing mechanism for water, the current and future plans of the Corporation, especially given the new public-… … Keep Reading

public space

Public Life/Public Space

Join the #TalkingSpaces Twitter Discussions on Child-Friendly Public Spaces

  The city of Accra, Ghana, like others around Africa, is expanding at a rapid pace. The pressure on the ground in the metropolis to make way for urban development translates into the cutting down age-old trees, and the taking over of play grounds, parks, waterways, and other essential community resources.  City authorities’ plans and the competing, uncoordinated priorities of city dwellers, vendors,… … Keep Reading

For African cities, ‘tactical urbanism’ has its limits

It was a few years ago that the framework of tactical urbanism, a concept particularly promoted and popularized by U.S. planning design firm Street Plans Collaborative, gained traction, particularly in the United States and European contexts. The idea of tactical urbanism refers to locally led, low-cost and short-term built environment interventions aimed at improving local… … Keep Reading

Foster’s World: Seeing Ga Mashie from Child Perspective

Foster Malm, 13, moves through one of Jamestown’s bustling markets with remarkable ease. Black iPhone covertly at the ready, he shoots off the hip, capturing unexpected market-goers moving through daily life. Although barely audible over the usual market place chatter, the camera shutter sounds off like rapid fire: close-ups of fresh tomatoes and onions, action… … Keep Reading

The Tro-Tro – An Essential Mode of Transport in Accra, Ghana

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This article was originally published for the Millennium Cities Initiative blog, Reports from the Field. Researching urban transport in Accra, Ghana, this summer on behalf of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the Millennium Cities Initiative, I learned a lot about the city’s most well-known, loved, hated, but essential modes of transport. Tro-tros, as they are…

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Escape to Lomé: Weekend in Togo

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This (unfortunately, very short) adventure into this Francophone country was a beautiful experience, if only to consider the melange of urban design influencs from a Francophone African perspective. State-of-the-art architecture in central Lomé. In terms of urban design, the city of Lomé is so interesting in the ways it combines (or fails to combine) the…

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Tourist in the City: Accra (in Pictures)

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Accra is a growing, dynamic and increasingly diverse city, and the wealth of excellent places to see, spend free time and explore are testimony to that. In addition, these all make the city incredibly attractive to foreigners such as myself, and great spots to learn more about the city — and the country’s history and…

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wiki wiki wiki!

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So I just stumbled across this fabulous resource – a wiki on water issues in Sub-Saharan African countries, can you imagine! The IWA Water Wiki is a “An information resource and hub for the global water community.” They have in-depth water and sanitation analyses on cities like…Lagos, Nigeria; Accra, Ghana; Nairobi, Kenya; Dakar, Senegal, etc. …

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The City of Accra gets a Logo: New Face, New Attitude?

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It’s official, the Mayor of Ghana, Dr. Alfred Vanderpuije, in collaboration with the Accra Metro Assembly has unveiled the city’s new logo: According to the Adom Online article linked above, the logo symbolizes the “engagement of citizens towards a new city philosophy that includes making Accra a better city forever.” This is part of the…

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Celebrating Ghana’s Win, Accra-style

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Ghana recently played (and defeated) the United States 2-1 to progress through the semifinals for the FIFA World Cup, currently taking place in South Africa. I rooted for Ghana, of course! (As they say, “when in Rome, do as Romans do,” right?) Photos below show some of the after-win celebrations in the streets of Accra…

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