features

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

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

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

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

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

Visualizing spaces: Accra’s first Francophone film festival

in Other by

For two weeks in March, the Accra Francophone Film Festival showcased new spaces, cultures and stories from across the continent and beyond — from Mali to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, from France itself to short films from across Ghana. Through the means of 13 Francophone films and 10 short films from Ghanaian filmmakers, the festival transported…

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

in Cultural + Heritage by

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…

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Kantamanto Market: In Accra, a premier destination for secondhand trade

in Urban (In)formality by

For more than 30 years now, the trading in Accra’s Kantamanto Market has contributed and linked in to the urban center’s economic productivity and vibrancy. Located near the Makola Market area, Kantamanto is its own market, separate and distinct from Makola. It’s home to more than 30,00 traders, who sell most commonly secondhand clothing, but…

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On its path to liveability, Accra explores new transport options

in Other by

For the average commuter, Accra is choked by bottlenecks and traffic congestion. The city’s commercial activity attracts two-thirds of commuters to the CBD, but the ineffective transport system stifles accessibility, productivity and liveability. The city’s longstanding transportation planning bias toward cars is catching up with the growing city. An estimated 70 percent of commuters get…

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When a major building like Melcom collapses, who is to blame?

in Other by

Perhaps the short answer should just be: everybody. Because the Achimota Melcom building’s collapse highlights serious weaknesses in planning regulations and building code enforcement in Accra. When the multistory commercial shopping complex for the Melcom shopping chain collapsed on Wednesday, November 7th in Achimota in Accra, it was not only a horrible disaster but also a testament…

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