How a new kind of “modern” urban development can include street vendors

How proper planning and considerations, rooted in citizen needs and demands, could support more vibrant streets in Accra.

Review: Oxford Street, Accra

Ato Quayson’s book provides a rich account of the multitude of forces that have shaped Accra as a city, historically, economically and culturally, from the vantage point of a key street.

Graffiti festival connects artists, cultures and ideas in Dakar

(Article republished from For 10 days in April, graffiti artists from around the world gathered in Dakar, Senegal for the fifth annual Festigraff, the Festival international de Graffiti en Afrique/Senegal. While the term “graffiti” can carry a negative connotation, spray can art is Dakar’s most ubiquitous urban art expression, ranging from vandalism to approved […]

Invisible Borders explores new public spaces

It’s a bright July afternoon in Accra. At Nima roundabout, cars normally pass around the circle and pedestrians walk through, but this afternoon the Invisible Borders Trans-African Photography Project exhibition draws attention and curiosity. People slow, pause, and stop to see the displays of immensely sized photographs mounted on wooden legs. The photographs, like windows, […]

Chale Wote Street Art Festival capitalizes on streetscape as public space

“In Ghana, what attracts people to places isn’t the [physical] space, it’s the event,” a friend said to me in conversation a few weeks ago. I was reminded of his words this past weekend, standing at the triangle-shaped Otublohum Square in Jamestown. As I watched, bike stuntmen paraded up and down High Street, doing tricks […]

How can art bring purpose to Accra’s public spaces?

By accident, Ghana’s telecommunications companies may have actually helped catalyze public art, at least in Accra. By branding houses, walls and kiosks with their company colors, they inspired a group of artists to bring their work into public space, too. In areas like Kawukudi and Nima, major roadsides are parades of blue, green, yellow and […]

Commercial and street activity intersect in Accra

“Original memory card, original pen drive, original battery, local battery, mp3, original battery, local charger,” a recorded voice blares repeatedly from a loudspeaker. The speaker is attached to a small wooden stall, laden with small-scale electronics: phones, phone covers, headphones, pen drives. It’s one of many stalls situated in the open space at Tetteh Quarshie […]

Accra’s Mmofra Foundation puts children at the center of public space design

“Mmofra means children,” explains Amowi Phillips of the Mmofra Foundation, giving the backstory on the children’s park that unfolds around us. Overhead, the gray sky and the sprinkle of droplets threaten rain, but here below we’re in an expansive green space full of life and activity. She takes me around the two-acre green plot of […]

Accra’s Efua Sutherland Children’s Park has limited access

The 12-acre green space in central Accra known as Efua Sutherland Children’s Park is one of the city’s largest parks. Situated in the city centre and proximate to the government ministries zone, the national theatre and the city’s largest hotel, one might expect the space to be busy on a typical weekend afternoon. One of […]

A growing city, challenging housing options

Owning a home is a reality for only a few in Accra. For most, even long-time residents, renting is the only option. The city’s housing market is like a pyramid: At its apex, a small international set – many of whom have lived or currently live abroad – own the most expensive residences. Moving down, […]