Why Are Public Spaces Unusual in Africa?

Stacy Passmore writes that public spaces "take on a different form and meaning in a West African city."

Speaking with people in Ghana, Passmore learns that parks were a European tradition brought over with colonialism and are not important to African culture:

"The consistently high temperature also makes it very difficult to want to spend much time in a large un-shaded open area, thus trees are extremely powerful attractions that automatically create informal gathering spaces; the wide branches forming the space of an outdoor room. Larger conservation-style parks exist, but they are disjointed from daily life and are treated like sanctuaries, (Kakum or Mole in Ghana) functionally operating for tourists."

Passmore concludes that street life functions in much the way that Westerners use parks, for public life, commerce and interaction.

Full Story: The Social Life of Public Space in West Africa

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00