DASUDA Urban Design Event: Accra Revisited

Page 1


E S S AY Plan at Accra’s Metropolitan Scale

FOCUS Talks and Dance at the Evening Lecture

VISUAL Work with the Local Environment


The economies and cultures of Ghana and the Netherlands are well connected. That is why the Embassy of the Netherlands was pleased to support the Urban Design event organized by DASUDA and ArchiAfrika. This 3-day event brought together Dutch and West African independent thinkers from different sectors of urban planning and design. They inspired us with new ideas from the Netherlands, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ivory Coast and they showed us how well-planned cities can make a difference in quality of life of its inhabitants and contribute to economic growth. The Embassy believes that an increased cooperation between professionals from Ghana and the Netherlands will contribute to sustainable urban development. Good examples of Dutch Ghanaian initiatives in Ghana are the Kumasi Circular Town, the Berlage research project and the Ghana Netherlands Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme. This Conference also marked the launch of the Ghana Design Network. In 2015, GDN plans to hold 8 lectures and workshops with Ghanaian and Dutch Design experts to create a hub for Design practitioners, tutors and learners. This conference will hopefully be the start of a long term collaboration between Ghana and The Netherlands, between African experts and experts from DASUDA, ArchiAfrika, The Berlage Institute and the Ghana Design Network. I congratulate the organizing parties on their initiative to take the cooperation between our countries on urban planning to another level. Hans Docter Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands


an international collaboration for urban development

Photo credit by DASUDA

These days Accra is changing: we need to understand by whom and for whom. Nat Nuno Amarteifio

Table of Contents 007 Introduction

E S S AY 008 Plan at Accra’s metropolitan scale 016 Work with the local environment 022 Reinvent, reuse, recycle 030 Focus on lively public domain 036 Transform to multi modal mobility 044 Collaboration and the Dutch DNA 050 Towards the future

FOCUS 014 Special Venue Accra Children’s Library 028 Workshop Outcomes and Projects 042 Panel Discussions Debate on Urban Africa 056 Evening Lecture Talks and Dance 058 Colofon



It is a great pleasure to share with you the results of the DASUDA ArchiAfrika Urban Design Event held from February 25th till 27th in Accra Ghana. This conference, organised by DASUDA, ArchiAfrika and other partners, showcased some of West Africa and European innovative thinkers. They brought their perspectives on rethinking Accra’s urban development with an outcomes based approach. The event broke new ground in recent memory by bringing academics, students, professionals, community and opinion leaders together to participate in panel discussions and workshops. It was important to raise awareness of urban matters in Accra and how urban design can support inclusive urban development for cities in Africa in general and for Accra specifically. The power of design for urban development lies in collaboration and engagement of all stakeholders to press for the search of private-public solutions. The organisation of this conference showed how local and foreign partners can work together to develop a relevant discourse on the African Condition that’s based on actual context. The event was like a first spark to ignite a collaboration between Dutch and Ghanaian professionals in the broad field of physical planning. A long term partnership can evolve from this first exchange of knowledge and experience in urban development, architecture and design. If we are successful in continuing an active relationship and dialogue, we can create a shared vision of how to realize local, innovative and sustainable projects as tailormade solutions for Accra. When there is a shared vision you have a strong basis for collaboration. This publication takes you through a series of articles based on themes presented and discussed during lectures, debates, and workshops. The essays contains our findings on topics like Accra’s metropolitan scale, public domain, realizing lively neighbourhoods and a glimpse of how the Urban Design Event can be followed up. Not only for those who visited Accra for the first time but also for those who have been frequent visitors to Accra and many other places on the African continent, the experiences during the event left an unforgettable impression on us all. I sincerely hope we can share results and thoughts about collaborative projects in the future. On behalf of DASUDA and her collaborating partners, I wish you pleasure in reading this publication. Robert van Kats Chairman DASUDA







Photo credit by DASUDA


JOE OSAE ADDO Chairmain of ArchiAfrika, Ghana The conference was attended by some of the leading voices in the realm of economy, design, architecture, creative arts and culture. This broad range of participants lead to a balanced and unique perspective on how Accra could develop into a city that is about context, culture, economy, and most importantly, unique infrastructure in its broadest terms.

ROGIER VAN DEN BERG Project Leader Urban Planning and Design LAB UN-Habitat, NL / KE I truly believe in planning but a comprehensive plan will take time. For this reason I suggest selecting seven projects in the city in which the idea of density and services and the concept of private and public partnership are tested through a special statement and a new financial mechanism. Thanks to these key projects of national priority we can reinvent the system.

‘The Strategic Plan for the Accra Metropolitan Area’ (1993 – 2010) formulates a vision of Accra as a sustainable and attractive city. However, realization of the plan has faced difficulties and to a large extent it has not been implemented. During the Urban Design Event ‘Accra Revisited,” tools, instruments and strategies for implementation of larger plans at structural city level were discussed in relation to both local culture and global practices. Both top down and bottom up planning and design approaches were addressed duringthe discussions and workshops. Like many African cities, Accra does not have a tradition of top down structural planning. The core of the city has always been compact until growth exploded, almost instantly, in recent decades. Looking back at the growth of the metropolitan area, it is evident that the global principal of ring road development, together with the city’s geographical conditions (ocean front and port), determined the structural growth of the city. The ring road plan contained zoning following a typical European approach at that time. Industrial areas were separated from city extension for housing and commercial areas. The ring road worked for roughly two decades to capture the growth of inhabitants and the need for industrial functions, but from the beginning of the 1990’s car ownership started to explode in tandem with economic prosperity. Looking at today’s Accra, the metropolitan field is a sprawl and finding the ring road in the urban fabric is almost like looking for a needle in the haystack. 10

MICHELLE PROVOOST Founding Partner of Crimson Architectural Historians, NL Fifty-five years after it was planned, the city of Tema is starting a new phase: it needs to redevelop and densify itself within the confines of the original modernist framework. The challenge will be how to improve and reinvent the city while still providing the affordable housing and community facilities, which have made the city so attractive in the past.

THIS PAGE Masterplan for Accra Metropolitan Area,1961 Credit by Dioxiadis Associates Accra Metropolitan Region, 2015 Credit by DASUDA

Within only a few years a new scale dominated the metropolis, the N1 motorway. The N1 has become a driver for urban exchange that relates differently to cross area developments than the old fashioned city centre’s relation to other suburbs and industrial zones. This new reality demands reliance on new potential cores in a metropolitan field that is already multi-nodal. Airport city has become as much a centre of attraction as high street. The port of Tema is as much part of the Accra metropolitan field as for instance Jamestown. Housing stretches out up to 50 kms beyond the historical core of Accra. This new reality calls for a top down approach in which the real Accra is addressed; a super sized region in which multi-nodal urbanisation is a fact and linking the dots has become the biggest challenge to make the still expanding city function. To ensure economic growth will lead to equal chances for most inhabitants it is essential that connectivity is provided for. Mass transport can’t be done by car. The strategy of mobility is essential. This is not only talking to abstract urban planning of lines, transport modes and interchanges. It is much more fruitful to create concrete proof of concept at local level, to address quality of life by improving urban circumstances at street level, in the public domain, in housing at all categories and providing mixed use around every corner. This will create nodes that face all these challenges and provide the necessities which so many people depend on in everyday life. The implementation objective is very much thinking big and acting small. In this situation of rapid change, the most effective approach would be to identify several urban hot spots that capture multiple challenges. These can become future key projects in which integral approaches at an urban design level could result in solutions on the short run that showcase the effect of planning and design which then can lead to replication on a very large scale.

THIS PAGE Key Project of National Priority Credit by DASUDA Accra’s New Realities Photo credit by DASUDA NEXT PAGE Accra Land Value, 2008 Credit by World Bank



Land has high economic value in Accra, and therefore denser urban areas must be able to develop. Rogier van der Berg



Special Venue Accra Children’s Library The Accra Central Library is a modernist architectural gem, built in 1956 next to the Supreme High Court by the architects Nickson & Borys and the general contractors Micheletti & Son. To build the library on a north-south axis made sun-shading devices along the east and west elevations a necessity. Ventilation is secured by adjustable glass louvers behind the brise-soleil. The Children’s Library was built as an extension of the central library with direct access from the street. Brise-soleil clay blocks were used to shade the interior and to match the existing style of architecture from the Central Library. Furthermore the ramp leading to the first floor entrance which opens up over two floors and continues in the central staircase to the top floor make the Children’s Library a perfect example of modern architecture. In preparation for the conference, the Children’s Library was renovated with the support of local companies and organizations. In this way the urban design event catalyzed not only the dialogue about the city, but even left a reenergized space for the people of Accra to enjoy.



THIS PAGE Accra Children’s Library, 1956 Credit by ArchiAfrika Renovation of Children’s Library for the Urban Design Event Photo credit by DASUDA

This remarkable building is finally being returned to its full grandeur, as we promised the city. Joe Osae Addo



Photo credit by DASUDA




Accra is a very social and vibrant city: the inhabitants use public space to carry out their daily activities, to develop their businesses and to strengthen social relations. Walking through the streets or along the beach of this ocean metropolis you can feel how social activities are among the most important aspects of urban life. The vibrancy of social life is particularly evident in the historic central areas amidst the colonial architectural heritage. The Jamestown fishing harbour and the Railway Station for example are now hosting several informal micro-economies attracting more than one million people every day. At first glance, these informal economic hubs seem very chaotic, but exploring them in more detail, one can recognise a complex system of social connections and cultural practices that regulate the life of the local community. During the Urban Design Event, both the local participants and the international guests clearly raised the importance of understanding these realities and involving the local communities in the development of the city, because they play a key role in the organization of the central area. The debate highlighted how nowadays the communities are under pressure due to the rapid demographic growth of the last decade and the consequent lack of affordable housing, services and public spaces. These problems need an urgent intervention and consideration of the local needs and expectations to develop quick, suitable and implementable solutions. Current urban policies do not seem to deliver solutions for these issues. From a current real estate perspective city development is more focused on the new residential areas

for middle to high income in greenfield development outside the existing city and is not dealing with appropriate affordable housing, services and infrastructure for the greater part of the population. Contrary to this trend, a city designed for and with the local communities should be composed of attractive neighbourhoods that are rich in services and activities, basic housing built with local materials and technology and with finance opportunities appropriate for the large low income groups. It should focus on regeneration of the existing urban areas providing a higher density without high-rise buildings, in the proximity of social amenities, work areas that are within walkable reach. It should cater for safe and sufficient public space for walking and space for street vendors, which are an essential part of Accra’s culture, grassroots economy and form the centre of urban life. All these topics can only be successfully addressed when a participatory approach to development is implemented. This means sincerely listening and working with members of the communities in workshops, not only to legitimize the future projects, but to create building blocks for a sufficient design in all these big areas so that urban policies will have practical implementation processes from the bottom up. Most of all, this will ensure that citizens immediately start calling these renewed inner-city areas their own. It is fundamental that all parties involved in city regeneration work in the context of the local environment in order for urban economics, liveability and equal opportunities in emerging Accra to speed up rapidly.




THESE PAGES Central Railway Station Photo credit by ArkiAfrika Accra - Tema Railway Photo credit by Bart de Hartog Makola Market Photo credit by DASUDA Jamestown Fishing Harbour Photo credit by DASUDA

BEREND VAN DER LANS Architect, AA Matters, NL Heritage constitutes an important source of identity and cohesion for communities. In Accra, parts of the city can be identified as highly valuable heritage. This is not limited to sites listed by UNESCO: areas like Jamestown or the Usher Fort are of big importance for identity and cohesion for the communities and have great potential for economic development.

IMMANUEL SIRRON KAKPOR Architect, Sirron-Kakpor Architects, Ghana Ghana’s urban space and architecture transformation are at a turning point. There are increasing pressures of external forces (international finance and modernity ideology) and internal forces (a youth movement of middle class and traditionalists). The challenge for us as architects and urban designers is to integrate aesthetics and sustainability into local context.



Architecture gets its final form only at site and with the people. Theo Lawson



Photo credit by ArchiAfrika E S S AY: W O R K W I T H T H E L O C A L E N V I R O N M E N T






Photo credit by DASUDA


Getting traditional services in place is not the way to go: the emerging African City requires new local and circular systems. Remco Rolvink


What if only one third of the inhabitants have tap water? What if only 65% of all our waste gets collected? And what if only 10% of that collected waste is treated? What if only two thirds of the required energy can be provided? What if sewer systems are not in place and only 85% have any form of sanitation in today’s Accra? And what if one imagines that these figures will double within one generation because of the explosive city expansion of Accra? It is this situation that forces us to rethink the city. These challenges might seem too big to handle, but if we let go of the preoccupation with traditional systems we might make a giant leap forward within that same generation. All our daily services within Accra can be seen through the lens of the history of the mobile phone. Within two decades communication has become personal, instant and erasable in our society. The cellular device was introduced in 1993 and nowadays 4,5 billion people worldwide use one or more daily, constantly even. It is such thriving new technologies as these that we are looking for if we talk about waste, sanitation, water and electricity services in the emerging African cities. With rapid urban growth it is unthinkable to have a proper large scale sewer system and centralized waste water treatment plants in place. New business start-ups can provide each house with a biofil toilet that uses limited amounts of water and digests liquid waste to a minimum residue and without odour. Or the septic tanks for large scale facilities like schools and hospitals can become biodigesters and the resulting gas can provide energy or can be bottled for cooking.

THIS PAGES Accra Urban Challenges Photo credit by DASUDA PREVIOUS PAGE Cellular phone growth Credit by DASUDA



Even in low income situations where public toilets serve entire communities, septic tanks can be used as a feeder for a large biogas plant that delivers electricity. In combination with solar energy a local grid can provide power security. Technology has improved and these types of decentralized solutions are now being turned into business cases, that also help to build economic prosperity. The challenges are bigger for cities that are not capable of first getting all the ‘wiring’ into place before urbanisation takes place. This is mainly because we don’t know all the possible alternative solutions for servicing existing urban areas yet. Once examples of affordable low tech and small and medium scale devices to serve the citizens become known to people, all want to benefit from this. Because everyone uses water, toilet and electricity every day, the market is endless if you can provide the ‘cell phone’ solution for these necessities. The business case might very well be embedded in the sustainable side of new technology. By envisioning all the daily streams and flows of urban life as a circle, all that was once waste instantly becomes a resource to feed the system. Liquid waste can become resource for biogas, its residue for organic soil, that becomes base material for a plant nursery, which opens up a low cost regional food production. Water residue is filtered in a natural plant bed, ‘eating’ the pollutants and growing cane or bamboo, which yield an excellent building material. Accra can transform into a city with many of these circle chains within the time span of one generation.



PREVIOUS PAGE Safi Sana staff selecting waste Organic soil as biodigester Miscantus grass field Photo credit by Safisana Diagram Urban Circular Economy Credit by DASUDA THIS PAGE Potentials of closing the loop Credit by DASUDA

REMCO ROLVINK Urban planner and Secretary General of DASUDA, NL I think it is important to look from the existing to the new systems: depending on the situation either we can find great opportunities within the existing resources or we have to try new systems. In both cases, the dialogue with the community is important to decide which is the best solution for a specific context; one that fits the local demand.

FRED SMIET First Secretary of the WASH program, Ghana / NL A broad approach for the treatment of waste in Greater Accra is needed. It should be well planned and coordinated with both key roles for public and private sector. We need to strive towards reduction of waste, segregation of waste and recycling to organic fertilizer, biogas or electricity, for instance. These ideas will become rapidly more constructive within Ghanaian society.

E S S A Y : R E I N V E N T, R E U S E , R E C Y C L E


Workshop Outcomes and Projects During the three days of the event, the afternoons were dedicated to workshops sessions guided by professionals who worked on practical cases together with the public and the students. The delegates, students and visitors learned from Accra through their visits to Jamestown and other parts of town and by sharing knowledge, exchanging ideas and discussing implementation strategies for the locations and the themes subject of the workshops. The afternoon workshops were an important moment to raise awareness of urban matters in Accra and to engage local and international stakeholders, decision makers, professionals and the general public in a debate on pressing issues, bringing the private sector and government together in the search for solutions. During these sessions we discussed the possibilities for collaboration on studies and research of the city centre areas such as Jamestown, on housing policy in the Accra Metropolitan Region and on the future development of Accra.



THESE PAGES Urban Design Event Workshop Photo credit by DASUDA







Photo credit by DASUDA


FREDERIK GROOS Architect, Butterfly Housing, NL Butterfly House is an open building approach to housing in Africa. Designing housing is organising recurrent patterns, repetition for ordinary, everyday things. But it’s also enabling individual differences, special places and expressions of self. Good urbanism enables both: generic growth and specific expression, leading to sustainable communities.

ISSA DIABATE Architect, Koffi & Diabaté Architects, Ivory Coast In order to achieve sustainable solutions for the next generation, it is important to understand the African context and consider all the aspects of our society, like politics, economy, culture, technology. The challenge for the architects of today is to go beyond the form and be involved in what we do: we have to take action to reshape our city.

The city is a living organism. Yet planning is necessary to accommodate its inhabitants. Planning doesn’t result in a picture perfect city, because after planning the real world is much more complex and diverse then plans suggest. Planning can only set a framework. The infill is much more like an extension of the biological world. Accra is very organic; one can’t distinguish the difference between structure and infill of the city area. A balanced situation as a reference point for planning between structure and flexibility is Amsterdam. Barcelona is another one. Cerda’s approach to planning the grid to accommodate the vast growth of the city was not to detail every building. It set guidelines to deal with the unknown complexity of people’s needs, market demand and building activity in 10 or even 50 years. The infill is different from anything he ever drew as possible block development. Still the grid facilitates an urban life of high quality and numerous building typologies and even more combinations. For Accra the device can be: create neighbourhoods with all structures in place, but with space for growth, adjustment and individual infill and expression. Housing need is a numbers game and Accra has lots of building activity with housing in the upmarket range. The challenge is to crack the code on housing for the challenged. The large number of people that lack facilities can find these in a well funded basic house. To solve the financing of these target groups is a big issue. But also design is an issue. 32

MARTIN SOBOTA Architect, CityFörster, D / NL From our experience with projects in South-East Europe and Africa we are convinced that the private sector should be considered a strong ally and even a driver in the making of a sustainable and affordable city. If architects focus on smart solutions for the task at hand they can add value to the private side while advocating for the common good.

THIS PAGE Barcelona Plan Cerdรก 1858 by Ildefons Cerdรก Sunyer Barcelona 2015 image by Google Earth Butterfly Housing: open building approach to housing in Africa. Credit by Butterfly Housing


It might be much more suitable for many citizens to live with basic services that work and improve life, then to long for a full house that you can never afford and therefore never will be built.Cater for the basic construction of a house, but care for its relation to the public domain. Urban plans at the scale of the block that works, no matter what circumstances, are not about the house itself, but about the relations of all buildings to the street. Especially in an outdoor environment like Accra, the street level and the relationship of buildings to public space are essential. Looking at the current situation of new housing areas these relationships are not addressed. When the urban plan offers more public space in a finer grain, putting pressure on plot sizes, the block become more compact, the pedestrian is respected again and multiple story buildings with activities at ground floor vitalize a lively and liveable public domain. What type of building and whether it is multi-storey housing from the start is not important. Multiple use of expensive urban space will grow automatically in the decades after the first local initiatives, as long as the incentives for urban activities are incorporated in the urban plan. It is the urban plan that sets the character and functionality of the city, not the actual building development. At a 2000 square meter plot one could realize 1 villa, or 8 row houses with gardens, or 15 apartments with a ground floor shop, office and a courtyard. Focusing on the creation of hierarchy and quality in public space along the perimeter, with guidelines that secure accessibility from street to plots and simple building guidelines to build at the perimeter edge, will fundamentally change development potentials for inclusive housing typologies.



THIS PAGE Different urban blocks in Acca Credit by DASUDA Building typologies in Accra Photo credit by DASUDA







Photo credit by ArchiAfrika


The transport system must be reorganised into real networks for the different modes. Tonny Bosch


Transport plays a crucial role in urban development by providing access for people to education, markets, employment, recreation, health care and other key services. Planning an efficient traffic and transport system is a precondition for maintaining the city’s prosperity. Furthermore, it has the power to turn the wheel towards a more sustainable city, with an integrated transport that is friendlier to the environment and the community, or to keep planning cities for private vehicles, where making more space for cars is still considered the best option. Having just one network generates unsafe situations, poor accessibility, and irritated citizens. Hence, coherent integrated networks for cars, public transport, cycling and walking are the main challenge in every city. With this consistent system, everybody has a free choice of mode to travel safely and comfortably from A to B, instead of using one network, as in the current situation, in which everybody has to fight for space and position. This means multi-modality, with consistent networks for walking, cycling, public transport and cars. For the city centre and bigger surrounding areas it is important to facilitate motorised transport (cars and buses) but not more than is needed. Parking and how to reorganise this for the city centre will also be analysed and solutions will be proposed. Walking and cycling as sustainable modes will be encouraged and will have more space than in the current situation.

PREVIOUS PAGE Traffic in Accra Photo credit by UN Habitat THIS PAGE Collective transport in Accra is all using the same network Photo credit by DASUDA



In general, cars that have no relation with the city should not drive on the roads in it. This means that use of the bypass must be encouraged or even forced. The transport system must be reorganised into real networks for the different modes. Only a shift from the short car trips to cycling (for example) will help to decongest the city! Small interventions/changes can have a big impact. It is at street level where the city functions and is alive. This is especially evident in the core of Accra. The street is market place, gathering space, traffic corridor and living space all at the same time. Nevertheless, typical public life follows an urban pattern in only a small part of the metropolis. In the vast recent extensions of housing areas dominated by car mobility there is hardly any place for pedestrians. This limits the natural growth of public life. UN habitat has researched a comparison of street intersections per km2 in a series of cities. A correlation between street life, urban economy, mixed use and the amount of intersections leads to the findings that the density of the street pattern tells a lot about the liveliness of public space and the suitability for non motorized transport. Outside its centre Accra has challenges in this respect. A shift to multi modal mobility solving the congested city at large is served better by neighbourhoods with sufficient space for pedestrians along economic activities at street level. A finer street pattern and quality of public space may therefore be the driver to become a city with a better balanced mobility modal split.

Accra now: car driven street pattern

Addition of walking and cycling network


Number of street intersections/ km2. Credit by UN-Habitat 40

Transform to multi modal mobility. Credit by Move Mobility


Making space for non motorized transport - Credit by Move Mobility TONNY BOSCH Mobility Expert, MOVE Mobility, NL During the planning process tools and skills are needed to achieve a successful outcome. Modelling and communication tools such as the “MOVE Meter� are necessary to validate the scenarios and come to possible solutions. This is a friendly tool that contributes to the decision making processes, steering to multimodal mobility solutions and quality of urban life.

KAMEL BOUHMAD Mobility Expert, UN Habitat, FR Fare policies and integrated urban planning are important instruments to make transport systems more sustainable. Land-use and transport/mobility plans should be integrated to articulate densities along transport nodes and corridors and leverage on the diversity of land uses, which will contribute to reduce distances and cope with transport costs while increasing the ridership.

SIMON SADDIER Infrastructure Expert, AFD, FR / GH For a good urban transport project it is important to involve the local institutions and all the stakeholders to develop an integrated vision of transportation, have a clear communication plan and implement a sustainable and efficient transport system. A pilot project can show a new model and prove that a better system is possible, utilising the local experience and learning gained.



Panel Discussion Debate on Urban Africa Enthusiasm for the panel discussions was great! Lesley Lokko, who moderated the first panel and who is herself a Ghanaian-Scottish architect and novelist, said, “we often complain about the lack of debate on African urban issues but sadly the only time we speak together is when we are invited to a conference in Europe. I think it’s great what is happening here!” Discussions covered the three main themes of the event: Urban Development and Design, Building oppurtunites on Existing Infrastructure and Urban­Typologies: New Context Based Approaches on Housing. The general public could hear the experiences of local and international speakers and hear their views on the current problems and challenges for emerging African cities. Mpho Matsipa, lecturer at Wits School of Architecture and director of Studio-X in Johannesburg, led most of the public discussions, which focused particularly on how Accra could develop into a sustainable and inclusive city.



THESE PAGES Urban Design Event Panel Discussion Photo credit by DASUDA

To be able to have this conversation here in Ghana is a great opportunity to open a communication channel across Africa. Lesley Lokko

F O C U S : PA N E L D I S C U S S I O N


Photo credit by DASUDA




The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 26% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and 59% of its land in a vulnerable position for flooding. Beginning in the late 16th century, land reclamation started and large polder areas are now preserved through elaborate drainage systems that include dikes, canals and pumping stations. Nearly 17% of the country’s land area is reclaimed from the sea. Over the centuries, the Dutch coastline has changed considerably as a result of human intervention and natural disasters. The huge North Sea flood of early February 1953 caused the collapse of several dikes in the south-west of the Netherlands; a large number of people drowned in the flood. The Dutch government subsequently instituted a large-scale programme, the “Delta Works”, to protect the country against future flooding. To control flood we had to collaborate. Due to this history working together is in our education system, in daily life and in the DNA of Dutch companies. The Dutch Alliance for Sustainable Urban Development, DASUDA, strongly believes that, via sharing knowledge and expertise, the Netherlands and Ghana can work together to develop local solutions for the most sustainable cities in Ghana and set a new standard for urban planning in Africa. Any collaboration starts with learning from each other, sharing knowledge and understanding of the local conditions and needs. The delegates, students and visitors of the Urban Design Event learned from Accra through visiting Jamestown and other parts of town and most of all by sharing knowledge, exchange of ideas and discussing the implementation strategies for the locations and themes. The event is like a first spark of collaboration

between Dutch and Ghanaian professionals in the broad field of physical planning. A long term partnership can evolve from this first step of exchanging knowledge and experience in urban development, architecture and design. If we are successful in continuing the relationship and achieve an active and mutual dialogue we can create a shared vision of how to realize local solutions in Accra. With a shared vision you have a strong basis for collaboration. As was the case, for example, in Kunlé Adeyemi’s project for the floating school in Makoko Lagos, which he presented at the event. There a specific expertise was needed to develop a local solution to deal with a water environment in which the Dutch had expertise and experience. The shared vision that it could be done led to collaboration, enriched the project and successfully implemented the idea for a floating school. To implement any idea it is important to engage all stakeholders. The collaboration and stakeholder involvement should generate grassroot solutions for the emerging urban challenges. It starts a process that can answer the priorities and needs and come to an inclusive and sustainable future for Accra. In the collaboration with experts on all physical planning aspects of a city, Dutch experiences, not just in water management, but also in affordable mass housing, multi modal mobility within the city and feasible basic services can be tailored to make an effective, implementable model for Accra. Through collaboration we will be able to set a new standard that combines sustainable development for a growing number of citizens who are seeking a better quality in their everyday life. When done successfully, this process can also serve as an example for other cities in Africa.


Photo credit by DASUDA 46


PETER KERSTEN Marketing management consultant, GHANA DESIGN NETWORK Part of the opening ceremony on February 25 was the launch of the Ghana Design Network (GDN) by Mrs Norkor Duah, Managing Director of the Advantage Group and Mr. Peter Kersten, program manager of GDN and advisor international affairs of the Association of Dutch Designers.

On day 2 and 3, GDN contributed to the conference with two workshops, titled “Building a better city brand�. The Ghana Design Network is a not-for-profit NGO that aims at promoting creative business services as a strategic management tool for critical flywheel effects on Ghana’s national economy. It is designed to become a community of Businesses, Designers, Educators and Learners bringing together the best minds from Ghana and abroad in a series of meetings, activities, conferences and workshops, to expand the scope of Design appreciation among practitioners and businesses and to create a viable ecology for future growth. The network will include design services like communication/ brand design, interaction design,

product / industrial design, spatial / interior design, the architectural community and, when opportune, fine arts. The main objectives are to give designers opportunities to hone and develop their professional skills in the broadest sense, to attract, hold and give practising and future designers a platform to share professional experiences and to educate the Business Community and Government on the value of good design on their business performance in terms of profit and brand equity. GDN will receive support in kind from the Netherlands Government for the trial period of 2015 in the form of 7, 8 Dutch design experts to present workshops, lectures or other interventions in Ghana on specific pre-agreed subjects.





When there is a shared vision you have a strong basis for collaboration.

Photo credit by DASUDA

Robert van Kats







Photo credit by DASUDA


It would be a pity if the first Urban Design Conference in Accra does not get a follow-up. The three day conference in February 2015 was a success according to the responses received. We are grateful for having dedicated partners in ArchiAfrika, the Dutch Government and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, UN Habitat, INTI, Berlage Institute, Ghana-Netherland Design Network, AMA and City Forster, AA maters and all professionals from the Ecowas region for this event. In conjunction with the enthusiastic response DASUDA and UN Habitat have discussed our mutual feeling that we should keep an eye on the future.

We see several fields of enhanced urban development within Accra. The various articles in this publication let us see several fields of enhanced urban development in the near future in Accra. The analysis in the various key note presentations during the conference reveals the momentum is in favour of Accra pushing through to new qualities of urban development. These could break loose from what almost appears to be the city’s faith in uncontrolled urban sprawl, increasing congestion, steep growth of informal settlements, hazardous environmental issues and social exclusion blocking broad and durable economic prosperity. As described in ‘Plan on Accra’s metropolitan scale’ the solution is not so much in drafting a regional master plan dictating high brow structural solutions where reaching the level of implementation is still the biggest issue. We see this ‘master plan’ approach in many emerging cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although each place is unique, in general it would be best to work inside-out and bottom-up while discussing and deducing what the result of interventions at a concrete urban level might be when replicated at a larger scale and longer term. Therefore we propose to continue the dialogue at all professional levels and with the authorities to define five to seven Key Projects. These Accra Key Projects should be given the status of National Priority. Again from the momentum, we can say that with time, Accra could even become a guide to a range of African cities, leading the way on integral urban development. But only if main drivers are truly incorporated and fully explored within these Key Projects.



For an introduction to these main drivers, you can read this publication front to back again, but let’s summarize: public space needs to be improved and increased in neighbourhoods, based on local use, demand and needs. Walkable space must be the priority. In connection with that, a multi-modal mobility plan needs to be developed including a public transport plan that incorporates the position of tro-tro minibuses and the implementation drivers for dedicated bus lanes, terminals and a BRT system to make Accra a smart moving city. Both the public transport and walkability follow planning principles that will lead to densification and mixed use around nodes, This will enable inhabitants to reduce commuting time and cost, and increase quality of life in their neighbourhoods. This quality of life is also very much related to everyday basic needs. Therefore developing sustainable, social and durable service systems for water, wastewater, solid waste and energy at a local scale that provide affordable solutions for all ranges of society should be made economical feasible. This should be showcased in these Key Projects for Accra.

Key Projects as drivers of change and improvement. The locations for these ‘drivers of change and improvement’ are not at the Greenfields, as we have discovered so often over the last decade throughout the continent. The new town or satellite city is not the solution that provides what is required within the existing metropolitan fabric. On the contrary, the Key Projects should be defined in some of the core areas of current development or challenging neighbourhoods in the centre of the public eye of Accra. In these locations special status should be allowed for new rules, regulations and urban management to be tested. For instance on rules and regulations for private real estate investments that create spin-offs in the public domain. In the Accra context, what would the influence be if real estate incentives and construction taxes were tied to creating decent public spaces around buildings and improving their accessibility to streets? These are the questions and objectives that might be subject to the follow-up of the first Urban Design Event in Accra. We hope eyes are wide open to the future and envision an annual conference on the spatial development of a prosperous Accra.



I just came back from the future where Accra is a vital and prosperous city for all its inhabitants. Ambassador Hans Docter 54


Photo credit by DASUDA E S S AY: T O WA R D S T H E F U T U R E


Evening Lecture Talks and Dance A special highlight of the conference was an evening at the Old Kingsway building in Jamestown, an ArchiAfrika production sponsored by Coral Paints Ghana. Over the years the building was used as a department store, offices and catering services but the activities ceased over ten years ago. The location of the building in Jamestown is very opportune: the reuse of this facility for tourist related purposes will aid in entertaining visitors to the site and in encouraging them to extend their visit to the site. The event was well attended by the Jamestown community, who came to join in an evening featuring a keynote talk by KunlĂŠ Adeyemi and performances by hip hop artist Edem and poet Nana Asaase. This unforgettable evening showed the potential of redeveloping sites in Jamestown. It retained the aesthetic appeal of the historical building while satisfying the present day needs of its users with modern technology, a requirement in any contemporary setting for economic or commercial purposes to benefit the community.



THESE PAGES Old Kingsway Building Photo credit by ArchiAfrika Urban Design Event Special Evening Photo credit by DASUDA

A particularly added value by the local partners were the great orchestration of the venues and the communities engagement. KunlĂŠ Adeyemi



Colofon Special thanks for the event to: NETHERLANDS EMBASSY Hans Docter Ambassador Mariska Lammers Policy Advisor Trade and Economy Marnix Segers Policy Advisor Trade and Private Sector Development Grace Kaye Office Manager ARCHIAFRIKA PARTNER Joe Osae-Addo Chairman Nat Amarteifio Director Tuuli Sarela Board Secretary Delphina Namata Serumaga-Musisi Program Manager Steffen Fischer Program Coordinator Enoch Agyepong Program Coordinator And all volunteers INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS Rogier van den Berg Project Leader Urban Planning and Design LAB, UN-Habitat Sanne van den Breemer Teaching Architect Berlage Institute Norkor Duah and Peter Kersten Founders Ghana Design Network (GDN) Berend van der Lans Director AA Matters Nanne de Ru Director Berlage Institute Martin Sobota Executive Director Cityförster Rotterdam Branche SPEAKERS, PRESENTERS, PANELLISTS AND SPECIAL GUESTS Kunlé Adeyemi Director NLÉ Steve Akuffo Principal Architect Akuffo and Associates Guy Amarteifo Library Director Accra Central Library Korkor Amarteifio Co-Founder Institute for Music and Development Mark Ankrah CEO of State Housing Company Ghana Robert Ansah Assistant to the Mayor of Accra Honourable Emilia Arthur on behalf of the President of Ghana Nana Asaase Poet Aloysius Bongwa Urban Management Expert Kamel Bouhmad Regional and Metropolitan Planning Unit, UN-Habitat Issa Diabaté Managing Director Koffi & Diabaté Architects Edem Hip Hop artist Edward Effah Managing Director and CEO

of Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited Maria Garbellotto Program Manager DASUDA Frederik Groos Co-founder Butterfly Housing BV Joseph Hayford President Ghana Institute of Architects Robert van Kats Architect, Urban designer, Chairman DASUDA Jonny Osei Kofi Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Water, Resources, Works and Housing Ekem Amonoo Lartson Executive Board Member Ghana Institute of Planners (GIP) Theo Lawson Director Freedom Park Lagos Lesley Lokko Author and architect Mpho Matsipa Lecturer at Wits school of architecture and Director of Studio-X Johannesburg Christa Meindersma Director Prince Claus Fund Michelle Provoost Director International New Town Institute (INTI) Paul van Ravestein and Monique Mulder Founders and Partners of Mattmo Rik Riekebos Managing Director European Institute of Brand Management (EURIB) Remco Rolvink Master Planner, Secretary General DASUDA Simon Saddier Infrastructure Expert AFD Immanuel Sirron-Kakpor Director Sirron Kakpor Architects Fred Smiet First Secretary Ghana Netherlands WASH Program, Netherlands Embassy Ralph Sutherland Principal Sutherland and Sutherland Architects Nii Teiko Tagoe Chief Development Planner Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) Jean Charles Tall Founder College of Architecture Dakar Students of KNUST Students of Central University Students of the Berlage Institute LOCAL SPONSORS Coral Paints Ghana, Micheletti & Co. Ltd, BAFLA Ltd, Krane Construction, A&C Development, Advantage Group, Multimedia Group, Little Sun Ghana, Institute for Music and Development The people of Accra and in particular the communites of Jamestown and Ga Mashie

This publication is curated by:

DASUDA Foundation Wilgenweg 22b 1031HV Amsterdam NL dasuda.nl KvK 57085854

DASUDA Lagos Thessa Brongers-Bagu Liaison +234 813 503 5003 thessa@dasuda.nl

DASUDA Nairobi Stephen Lewis Urbanist + 254 725 146 090 stephen@dasuda.nl

DASUDA Cape Town Bas van Kampen Business developer +27 76 275 9025 bvkampen@live.nl

DASUDA Team Robert van Kats Chairman Remco Rolvink Secretary General Tonny Bosch Mobility Expert Maria Garbellotto Program Manager


This publication is financially supported by:

The Creative Industries Fund NL is a Dutch cultural fund that provides grants for innovative projects within architecture, design and e-culture. In addition, it stimulates crossovers with other cultural and social sectors. Commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Creative Industries Fund NL has an Internationalisation Programme designed to strengthen the global reputation of the Dutch creative industry, build enduring networks and broaden the market. Creative Industries Fund NL Postbus 29066 3001 GB Rotterdam +31(0)10 436 16 00 info@stimuleringsfonds.nl

This publication is endorsed by: