Architecture Grant Scheme → Open call
Urban Lab Ghana
The growth of Accra is a matter of concern: within 30 years, Accra grew from a city with a radius of 10 km into a continuous, urban agglomeration that stretches over 60 km along the coastline. With a staggering growth rate of 4.6 per cent, the population is expected to grow from 2.5 million in 2011 to 4.2 million in 2020. In Accra, the speed of speculation has consistently outpaced the speed of planning, resulting in regular severe flooding, daily traffic collapse and the absence of basic utilities and basic services in many parts of the agglomeration.
Good spatial planning and design assistance directly affect the municipalities' capacity to meet these challenges and deliver a more liveable and resilient piece of city.
On UN-Habitat's initiative, a National Priority Project has been established that will entail a planned extension of Accra into the adjacent Ningo-Prampram district. Both local and national government – and the private sector – have shown considerable interest in the plan, and support its moving forward towards implementation with a steering committee that has the mandate to approve and a development body tasked with implementing the plan. The Ghanaian-Dutch team of planners, consisting of urban and landscape designers and water and infrastructure experts, is helping to further build this momentum and to design the city extension of Ningo Prampram, which encompasses a total land area of about 100 km. In the future it will be able to accommodate a significant amount of the growth predicted in the Greater Accra Agglomeration.
Planning a city extension for an assumed 1 to 1.5 million people is beyond what typically can be grasped by the experience of humans. One cannot design a city of that size. But one can put basic systems into place that allow a city to grow over time. The approach to the planned city extension in Ningo Prampram therefore consisted of three key aspects: How can a system be established that mitigates the biggest risk – regular flooding? How can a system be crafted that provides basic services, that can mature over time and that is relatively easy to understand and manage? How can the often finite ideas of 'Newtownism' be avoided, and instead room be made for growth and gradual maturing as an integral part of urban development?
Making a big plan never works without local rooting. In dialogue with local planners, representatives and through site visits, the design team defined the plan's key objectives. In these conversations it became obvious that creating broad support is essential to making the plan happen on the ground. Consequently, recent focus – besides on refining the plan – has been on activating all key players in the process, from the local stakeholders to the President of Ghana. So far this has been successful on all political levels. In a next step the plan has to find the acceptance of the local population and start attracting investment from both the private sector and global institutions. A much greater challenge, but one that is essential to inclusive planning.
Markus Appenzeller – MLA+, mlaplus.com
Eric Frijters – Fabric, fabrications.nl
Martin Knuijt – OKRA, okra.nl
Daan Roggeveen – MORE ARCHITECTURE, more-architecture.com
Ingeborg Thoral – MIXST URBANISME, mixst.nl