Creating Great Public Spaces in Three African Cities
In Africa -like in many other places in the world – public spaces are used for public life, commerce and interaction. However, lack of funds, planning, and maintenance, as well as priority for motorized vehicles, has turned many public spaces into unsafe, unforgiving and unconnected places. In addition, many public spaces are difficult to access, especially for those living in vulnerable situations. This is especially the case for our three partner cities: Kampala, Niamey, and Accra. There is a significant lack of formal public spaces in each of these cities, particularly in the outlying areas where the slum settlements are located. Of those spaces that do exist, they are degraded, of poor quality, and under constant threat of being developed into other purposes.
To address this problem we are a implementing pilot public space projects in three African cities: Kampala, Uganda; Niamey, Niger; and Accra, Ghana. We chose these cities because the local partners have strong, constructive relationships with federal and local government officials. In each case the pilot park projects reflect a different focus: slum dwellers in Kampala; government officials in Niamey; and children in Accra. In each case we will test innovative solutions for:
- Conducting a community engagement process that ensures a people-centred approach to the design of the space;
- Engaging women, children, and the differently abled in the design of the parks;
- Including multiple uses that meet community needs;
- Improving access to the public spaces;
- Developing community-based maintenance;
- Formalizing the process of citizen engagement into city policies;
- Raising awareness among the public and decision-makers regarding the importance of public spaces;
- Strengthen local and national policies that protect, preserve, and enhance public spaces.
Accra, Ghana; Niamey, Niger; Kampala, Uganda
June 2017 to October 2018
Our ultimate goal for this project is to create improved local policies, plans and designs for safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces for all which supports more compact, integrated and connected, socially inclusive cities and neighbourhoods in partner cities. In order to realize this goal we expect he following results:
- Increased number of public space improvements, which results in more people, including women, children, and the elderly visiting the spaces.
- Increased capacity among government officials to implement public space improvements and develop public space policy.
- Increased participation among community members to ensure the public space improvements are wanted and needed by local residents.
- Increased commitment among government officials to develop public space policies.