Yesterday we had the opportunity to participate to the firth Ghana Urban Forum. The forum brought together several stakeholders involved in urban planning for a day-long debate under the theme “Building Resilient Cities: Deepening Spatial Planning and Land Value Capture for Development in Ghana”. The forum was hosted by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and organized in collaboration with GIZ and CitiesAlliance.
Accra was founded as a fishing village in 16th century by the Ga ethnic group. In the 18th century, the city became the capital of the British Gold Coast colony and later of the independent state of Ghana. The urbanization of Accra in terms of population growth and urban expansion has been growing rapidly ever since. Indeed, the initial city Accra, referring to the Accra Metropolitan Area (AMA), could not accommodate the increasing population, resulting in spillover to adjacent districts. Nowadays, the urban built-up area has grown into the different districts that make up the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA), creating an urban concentration beyond the original administrative boundaries of the city of Accra. During our transect-walks at the peri-urban fringe of this urban concentration, we asked residents whether or not they lived in Accra. This question often evoked laughter. Some residents answered “yes of course”, and others “no, this place is not Accra, Accra is where the busy market of markola is located”. Besides the laughter, this simple question facilitated discussions on what the city really is – where does it begins where does it ends, what is urban, what is rural?
What do you think?
During the first weeks we visited several neighborhoods of Accra. We spent our days walking around, observing everyday practices related with water supply and access and discussing with local residents how they get water for drinking and domestic uses. We soon realized that in Accra water is delivered to and accessed by resident through a wide array of strategies involving different infrastructures (buckets, storage tanks, wells, pipes, etc.) and social relations. In the coming months of our fieldwork we will further explore them, for now have a look at the pictures below!
Before leaving Berlin we imagined this blog as a dialogue between us. A dialogue trough pictures on key topics related with our research and everyday life in Accra. Here is our first blog!
The first cooking class
Sunday is a cooking day. After going to church in the morning, women are busy in the kitchen preparing large pots of stews, soups and other local food that will last for the whole week. Last Sunday, we joined our neighbor and learned how to prepare a typical Ghanaian dish: palm nut soup with banku.
The main ingredients of the soup are palm nuts (the same that are used for palm oil), fish (or meat), onions, tomatoes and green peppers. Here the receipt in short (see pictures below): pound the palm nuts separating the seeds from the chaff; add water and then sieve several times to separate the nuts from the juice. Meanwhile prepare the fish with onions, peppers and tomatoes in a large pot. Add the juice to the fish and boil for one hour.
More on palm oil production in Ghana:
http://www.fao.org/3/a-at550e.pdf [last visited 20.08.2015]
http://mofa.gov.gh/site/?page_id=8819[last visited 20.08.2015]