“Part of the problem in Ghana is that too often people tend to equate ‘modern’ with ‘Western’” Osseo-Asare
The BBC interviews TED Fellow DK Osseo-Asare and founder of Low Design Office, asking the question “…how do you revamp what some deride as a blight on the face of African cities, into an emblem of forward-looking design?…” Click here to listen
One area where Osseo-Asare hopes to use collaborative architecture is through the “kiosk culture” of Ghana. Informal shacks and buildings made of reused materials line Ghanaian streets, home to microenterprises and microindustry. While these buildings are technically illegal, they are an integral part of Ghanaian culture and daily life. “People expect ubiquitous micro-enterprise, [like] the ability to buy water or mobile phone credits from a vendor at virtually any point in the city,” Osseo-Asare says. Why then, are city planners trying to wipe out such structures, and replace them with factories?
“Kiosk culture is an existing model for survival in the city that can also become a bottom-up strategy for advancing local fabrication and sustainability,” Osseo-Asare says. Instead of eradicating kiosk culture in the growing city of Tema, Ghana, he and his team are working to build stronger, more environmentally friendly microstructures. Their first project is “bamboo lifecycling”: growing bamboo in an urban setting, and using it to build temporary and mobile infrastructures. After use, discarded building materials can be used as low-cost and low-impact cooking fuel. Read more here