The quality of surrounding landscape directly affects quality of life. As cities in Africa get bigger and more crowded, making adequate provision for landscaped surroundings is vital. Well-designed cities aid positive interaction and serve as a backdrop for enriched experiences.
Ghanaian cities are rapidly devolving – Kumasi for instance has lost is lustre as “the garden city of West Africa”, and it’s pleasant green patches disappear as commercial developments take their place; Accra is regularly featured on lists of dirtiest cities; and due to an oil boom, once sleepy port city Takoradi has exploded in a corresponding real estate boom with authorities lacking the will or capacity to regulate.
Finding well-designed, shaded, peaceful and beautiful places to pause, sit, or perhaps just enjoy a good conversation for free is nearly impossible in the hearts of our cities. This presents an opportunity for an insertion of friendly street niches – “urban acupunctures” to relieve the tensions of stressful urban environments. Beyond positive health benefits, these have positive effects on the economy of small-scale businesses in such areas – encouraging people to linger and stroll through rather than rush, rush, rush!
With socially-oriented design we can create simple and yet potent places of respite in Ghanaian cities.
In the first phase of our design-research, we focus on convenience of seating. Various challenges arise – questions of positioning, management, maintenance for example – which offer potential for innovative, exciting solutions.