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COLLABORATIVE DESIGN STRATEGIES: COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY AND HEALTH IN PERI-URBAN AREAS FACULTY STRATEGIC FUNDS REPORT 2013 Prepared by Kofi Boone, Associate Professor Department of Landscape Architecture NC State University College of Design


Faculty Strategic Funds Report 2013 Prepared by Kofi Boone, Associate Professor Department of Landscape Architecture NC State University, College of Design

Figures: All photography (by author) World, Africa, and Ghana diagrams (by author) Value chain diagram (adapted from ACDO/VOCA, World Report Fall 2006) Sustainable market shed diagram (Columbia University School of Architecture, Urban Studio, Urban Development in Ghana Report, Spring 2011) Aerial view of Kumasi and Kejetia Market diagram (Google Earth, edited by author)


Summary of objectives, status and the outcome of the awarded work

Africa is home to some of the fastest growing cities in the world. Accra (4.5 million) and Kumasi (2 million) are growing rapidly.

Ghana is located in West Africa. Accra is the capital city of Ghana. Kumasi is the cultural center, and home to Kejetia Market.

KUMASI

ACCRA

The original objective of this award was to initiate the first phase of multi-disciplinary action research developing models for collaborative design strategies for sustainable and healthy peri-urban areas. With partners Dr. Robin Fran Abrams (Architecture), Dr. Maria T. Correa (Veterinary Medicine), Dr. Duarte Morais (Parks, Recreation and Tourism), and also Dr. Burak Erdim (Architecture), I engaged in a series of US based workshops to flesh out project objectives, and identify characteristics to inform potential partnerships and pilot study locations for project work. The outcomes of these sessions were a series of methods to enable incremental and people-based capacity building strategies primarily focused on creating social premiums on agricultural products that can be recycled into infrastructure improvements. I engaged in a teleconference with Dr. Justin Stoler, a professor in the Department of Geography at The University of Miami engaged in extensive water quality research in Ghana. The conference resulted in preliminary interest in future collaboration in studying water quality in Ghana’s open-air markets, especially rain-water harvesting. I hired a research assistant to assist with literature review identifying organizations, case studies, and potential funding sources that could support multi-disciplinary study. This archive of materials will prove invaluable to

future research efforts in Ghana. Additionally, I conducted a field study in Ghana, West Africa with Dr. Burak Erdim, and with Dr. George Intsiful (Department Head, School of Architecture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology). The goal of the field study was to identify candidate sites, diagnose the issues in these areas, and secure Ghanaian partnerships. In total, the documented results of this award was to be the contents needed for a more robust grant application to The Ford Foundation or an equivalent agency. I visited several candidate sites, most notably an abandoned railyard directly adjacent Kejetia Market in Kumasi. Kejetia is one the largest open air market in Ghana and in West Africa, is home to numerous informal settlements, and is engaged in the types of food and service activities suitable for research study. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure the local partnerships focusing on Kejetia or other peri-urban areas. It was difficult to organize and confirm meetings with public officials, agencies, and key informants in these areas. In part, these contacts were over-extended and over-booked, agreeing to meet but unable to honor their meeting times. In part there was a lack of awareness about me, the profession of landscape architecture, and what I had to offer them. Subsequently, there have been communi-


Improving health in open-air markets is possible via analysis of the value chain, and the development of social premiums on products.

Premiums incentive healthy products, and can incrementally improve market infrastructure for human and environmental health.

cations with these entities. They are more accustomed to working with politicians, non-governmental organizations, engineers, social workers, public health professionals, and agriculture specialists. Further awareness building about the potential roles design can play in solving these complex problems is needed. It is hoped that discussion can continue to enable future partnerships in this area.

ally, a report outlining opportunities to pursue research through children’s play environments in Ghana is in progress. This work will inform the Ghana study abroad experience in 2014, as well as future peer-reviewed publications.

However, I did have a successful meeting with a well-regarded foundation in Accra, the Mmofra Foundation. This foundation is an advocate for livable Ghanaian cities, especially children. Their Playtime in Africa initiative, where they are working to develop the first children’s park in Accra, Ghana, offers a unique opportunity where multi-disciplinary work could occur. The foundation’s director, Amowi Phillips, saw themed play based on the experience of the open-air market as a desirable educational play activity.

This award contributed greatly to my own scholarship development. It enabled multi-disciplinary dialogue about the challenge of making open-air markets healthier places. Through exposure to case studies in other areas, my scholarship was buttressed with numerous examples of “bottom up” strategies. It also identified a gap in these successful cases in West Africa. Combined with the experiences of the field study, I have a more detailed and realistic picture of what it will take to affect positive change in Ghanaian cities.

Further dialogue with Mmofra Foundation has clarified the opportunity to pilot awareness and capacity building about health issues in open air markets through educational play opportunities in their Playtime in Africa site. This opportunity affords small-scale community engagement, especially with children, and can garner valuable action research experience to be applied to larger and more complex systems at a future date. A report on the healthy market research component of this award is forthcoming. Addition-

Contributions of the project to the faculty’s scholarship development

This award also enabled unintended beneficial relationships with Dr. Justin Stoler, Dr. Burak Erdim, and Amowi Phillips (Mmofra Foundation). It also identified children’s play environments as potential sites to pilot smallscale strategies to increase awareness of health issues in open-air markets. This award provided a viable focus for study abroad scholarship in 2014.


The pilot case was an abandoned railyard adjacent to Kejetia Market, the largest open-air market in Ghana. Unfortunately, it will take more time to secure Ghanaian partnerships necessary to complete the work.

Kejetia Market is home to over 10,000 stores occupyig fornal buildings and self-bult structures. It is in the heart of Kumasi.


Contributions of the project to the academic unit This award offered increased awareness of issues in Ghana, and the potential roles of the Department of Landscape Architecture in solution strategies. The workshops with multi-disciplinary participants, including teleconference with Dr. Justin Stoler, increased their awareness of the department and the profession. The field study, conducted with Dr. Burak Erdim, increased awareness of issues of landscape architecture in the School of Architecture, and afforded collaborative brainstorming on solution strategies. Contributions of the project to the college’s scholarship goals and objectives The award was an important step in increasing the capacity and focus of scholarship in Ghana, West Africa and by extension a ubiquitous issue facing many urban areas around the Equator. The award directly addressed the College’s Design Inquiry goals of addressing New Forms of Design Practice and Innovation. The award assembled the research and academic participants necessary to address a contemporary issue facing informal cities, and with local partner support, mirrors emerging trends in design practice. Because this award focused on issues in Ghana, the effort also targeted New Contexts for Design Influence. The lack of awareness of Ghanaian stakeholders of design professions, not to mention

landscape architecture, is an indicator of the current lack of engagement in this part of the world. Additionally, the award enabled focused work on the ‘bottom up’ approaches available to enable incremental changes in open-air markets. This fits squarely in the College’s interest in Design for Health and Sustainability. The difficult of building local partnerships over a short field study suggests that more time and strategic support is required to continue on this effort. Alternatively, having built a strong relationship with the Mmofra Foundation, parallel efforts via children’s play environments are possible. Contributions of the project to the academic unit This award offered increased awareness of issues in Ghana, and the potential roles of the Department of Landscape Architecture in solution strategies. The workshops with multi-disciplinary participants, including teleconference with Dr. Justin Stoler, increased their awareness of the department and the profession. The field study, conducted with Dr. Burak Erdim, increased awareness of issues of landscape architecture in the School of Architecture, and afforded collaborative brainstorming on solution strategies. Contributions of the project to the college’s scholarship goals and objectives The award was an important step in increasing the capacity and focus of scholarship in

Dr. George Intsiful is the head of the Department of Architecture at KNUST in Kumasi. He offered valuable insight and is open to future partnerships addressing pressing urban issues in Ghana. Dr. Instiful was our host in Kumasi, Ghana.

The Mmofra foundation, an Accra-based group advocating for a livable city, will partner with the Ghana Study Abroad course in 2014. the project will be their Playtime in Africa site, a children’s play and learning environment involving ongoing research.


Ghana, West Africa and by extension a ubiquitous issue facing many urban areas around the Equator. The award directly addressed the College’s Design Inquiry goals of addressing New Forms of Design Practice and Innovation. The award assembled the research and academic participants necessary to address a contemporary issue facing informal cities, and with local partner support, mirrors emerging trends in design practice. Because this award focused on issues in Ghana, the effort also targeted New Contexts for Design Influence. The lack of awareness of Ghanaian stakeholders of design professions, not to mention landscape architecture, is an indicator of the current lack of engagement in this part of the world. Additionally, the award enabled focused work on the ‘bottom up’ approaches available to enable incremental changes in open-air markets. This fits squarely in the College’s interest in Design for Health and Sustainability. The difficult of building local partnerships over a short field study suggests that more time and strategic support is required to continue on this effort. Alternatively, having built a strong relationship with the Mmofra Foundation, parallel efforts via children’s play environments are possible.



Faculty development grant report1