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

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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…

How do we measure “livability” in African cities?

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In the Africa.com article “The Top 10 Most Livable Cities in Africa”, I was excited to see the city that I currently reside in — Accra, Ghana — listed as the second most livable city in the continent. As you might guess, it’s many of the continent’s main attractions that find themselves on the list —…

Whose city is it, anyway?

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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,”…

On clean drinking water in Lagos: Many options, few solutions

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In Lagos, the systemic challenges facing urban water infrastructure affect each and everyone, from the wealthy oga in his corner office on Victoria Island to the impoverished beggar eking out his subsistence on a walkway in one of the city’s slums. While all are affected, the degree to which the pang of the water crisis affects each person is…

In Accra, people and their bikes create a subculture

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A 2010 World Bank study on Accra  estimated that only 1 to 4 percent of people in the city ride bicycles, whether to work, to school, to shopping activities, or for leisure. According to an earlier study by the Centre for Cycling Expertise, a Ghana-based, non-profit organization focused on promoting cycling and walking in cities, the…

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