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  • The Beeker Method: Planning and Working on the Redevelopment of the African City. Retrospective Glan

    For the past couple of months we have been working hard to meet the deadline of ‘The Beeker Method: Planning and Working on the Redevelopment of the African City’ seminar. Not an easy task as we wished to keep our arrangements secret from Coen Beeker, at the same time as we made him the key-note speaker of what he thought would be a small seminar for students from the African Studies Centre. Looking back on March 23rd I think we managed, the seminar together with the publication and the exhibition was just as much a surprise to Coen as the unexpected turnout at the seminar to us. There is a large number of people from various institutions, backgrounds and countries that contributed to the success of this project making the event a perfectly balanced mix of friendly atmosphere and sound debate on matters related to urban planning in Africa. The session opened with more historically-oriented presentations by Coen Beeker and his colleague from Burkina Faso, the former Director of the Direction Générale de l’Urbanisme et de la Topographie in Ouagadougou, Joseph Guiébo . Followed by presentations by Anteneh Tola, a Doctoral Candidate from TU Delft and Muhammad Juma, the Director of the Department of Urban and Rural Planning in Zanzibar, which provided some glances into current challenges of urban planning in Addis Ababa and Zanzibar Town. Coen Beeker and the Beeker Method remained, as planned, the red-thread throughout the seminar, but it was first during the panel discussion that the panellists including Jan Fransen (IHS), Peter Pels (UvL), Yolande Lingané (DGUT*), Muhammad Juma and Anteneh Tola were asked to consider more substantially the relevance of Beeker’s approach for contemporary urban planning in Africa. Discussions considering such complex matters can go on forever without reaching a conclusion, which doesn’t make them any less valuable. In the end, conclusions and answers were not so much the goal of this debate, as the wish to generate the feeling that urban planning in Africa is an urgent matter that requires not only further debate, but more importantly, action. The seminar was a truly international affair and it certainly ended in a manner befitting the importance of Coen Beeker, the unsung pioneer of bottom-up and participator urban planning in Africa. As a token of gratitude for the work Beeker did (and continues to do until this day) in Burkina Faso, country’s official delegation decided to decorate him in a rather unconventional manner. Since Beeker refused to be decorated with an official medal for his merits, he was instead awarded the ‘Étalon de Yennenga’ , the most prestigious award of the biannual Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) normally awarded to an African film that succeeds best in showing “the realities of Africa”. A well thought alternative which unleashed a festive mood among the audience continued afterwards with refreshments in the canteen. The work of Coen Beeker, his people centred and pragmatic approach to urban planning has been an inspiration to many who have had the chance to work with him over the years. His considerate and step-by step planning has affected the life of countless numbers of inhabitants living in informal settlements in African cities. This project grew out of the desire to honour the work and person of Coen Beeker, and to put a spotlight on his achievements and approach so it can continue to inspire others the same way it did before. His method proved effective back in the days, the question we wanted to ask ourselves and others today is whether it is still applicable, and if yes, in which form? For people who would like to get a copy of the book, it is currently on sale from ASC’s online bookshop. It can also be downloaded for free from the website in a digital format. For those who didn’t get the chance to join us during the seminar the publication is a good place to start familiarizing oneself with the work of Coen Beeker. It provides comprehensive study of Beeker’s work and thought and includes a number of chapters on contemporary urban planning in Africa, in which the writers consider the extent to which Beeker’s approach can still be useful today. The digital version of the publication is available here. The book can be purchased for € 15 here. The exhibition presenting most important aspects of Beeker’s Method and his crown project in Ouagadougou will remain on display in the corridors of the University of Leiden (Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden. Room 1A20 - first floor) until the end of May. After that we will be moving the exhibition around the Netherlands for the next couple of months. More details will follow. #Urbanplanning #Event #Placemaking

  • The Beeker Method:Planning and Working on the Redevelopment of the African City.Retrospective Glance

    Seminar, Exhibition and Book Launch, 23rd March 2017, 14.00 at African Studies Centre in Leiden. Coen Beeker is an unsung pioneer in bottom-up and participatory approach to urban planning with over 40 years of experience in Africa. During this international seminar, organized in partnership with the African Studies Centre Leiden, we will celebrate the work and thought of Beeker and take a retrospective glance at his achievements and their benefits for contemporary and future urban planners. The seminar features speakers from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Zanzibar & the Netherlands. The event will also launch a travelling exhibition on Coen Beeker, Urban Fields: Coen Beeker at Work in the African City and a book The Beeker Method. Planning and Working on the Redevelopment of the African City: Retrospective Glances Into the Future with contributions from scholars and practitioners from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Zanzibar and the Netherlands. The seminar will be followed by refreshments. The name of Coen Beeker may be unfamiliar to many; however, with increasing interest in urban Africa and the topic of urban planning on the continent, Beeker and his extensive work in several African countries deserves a more critical look. Beeker’s work focused primarily on urban redevelopment projects in Ethiopia, Tunisia, Sudan and Burkina Faso, of which his involvement in the modernization process of Ouagadougou is perhaps the most notable. Beeker applied an approach to urban planning that was not only ahead of its time, but which has also proved highly successful. The Beeker Method, as we would like to call it, is, in essence, about redevelopment carried out by residents themselves, through a dynamic process of palavers and long community consultations, and planning and site work conducted with little interference from above. The importance of community participation has been widely acknowledged in the current urban planning discourse. It is considered a fundamental prerequisite to fair and representative decision making in contemporary urban planning practices and the democratization of a process that was once in the hands of experts. Although there is considerable interest on the part of authorities and practitioners working in developing countries to apply bottom-up and participatory approaches, involvement of the poor and often disadvantaged groups in these processes remains difficult to achieve. Can a contemporary reassessment of Beeker’s projects and the underlying principles of his approach contribute to the current debate on urban planning in Africa? Speakers: Coen Beeker, University of Amsterdam Joseph Guiébo, Former director of the Direction Générale de l’Urbanisme et de la Topographie, Ouagadougou and UN Habitat expert. Muhammad Juma, Director of the Department of Urban and Rural Planning, Zanzibar. Gilbert Kibtonré, Secretary General of the Ministry of Lands and Developemnts in Burkina Faso Yolande Lingané, Direction Générale de l'Urbanisme et de la Topographie, Burkina Faso. Dick van Gameren, Professor of Dwelling, Department of Architecture, TU Delft Anteneh Tesfaye Tola. Doctoral Candidate, TU Delft. Date, time and location: 23 March 2017 14.00 - 17.30 Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden Room 1A20 (first floor) Click here to register for the event. #Event #Placemaking #Urbanplanning #Publication

  • Connecting and attention for modesty

    On the 6th of November, the Aga Khan Awards for Architecture were presented to their winners in the beautifully lit Jahili Fort in the United Arab Emirates. Unfortunately no winner from the African continent, although some of the projects in the final round were from Africa. Nevertheless the winning projects can give inspiration to all architects, also from the African continent. Read the review by Berend van der Lans at ArchiNed (in Dutch). #Architecture #Event

  • Stadsherstel presents Hifadhi Zanzibar

    During a lecture on Tuesday 25 October as part of the 60th Anniversary of Stadsherstel Amsterdam, the international activities of Stadsherstel will be in focus. Paul Morel will expand on the interest from abroad in Stadsherstel’s approach that combines private investment and interest with the public goal of using heritage as a driver for development. If this approach is successful in Amsterdam, it may also be effective in other parts of the world, where there is great potential in the built heritage but public funds and interest is lacking. Stadsherstel’s foreign activities have until now lead to the establishment of a similar company in Surinam and Zanzibar. Hifadhi Zanzibar (’preserve Zanzibar’) is existing for just over a year now and has a small but active group of shareholders and a small organisation that is working hard on obtaining the first building. It is positioning itself as organisation that raises awareness on the potential of heritage in development by taking action. AAmatters plays a key role as consultant in the process and in the transformation of the Amsterdam model to the Zanzibari base. If you want to hear more, please join at the Amstelkerk, 25 October at 20:00hrs. For more information, check Stadsherstel’s website. The lecture will be in Dutch. #heritage #Placemaking #Presentation

  • Difficult Dialogues on the WHS status of Stone Town @ ZIFF

    Hifadhi Zanzibar is asked to co-organise the Difficult Dialogues debate at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, with generous support from ACRA. This takes place on Wednesday 13 July from 19:20 at the Old Fort in Stone Town. For more information, please visit here. The dialogues concentrate on the World Heritage Status of Stone Town, which is a subject close to Hifadhi’s heart. Its’ office manager Maryam Mansab will host the debate with representatives from the institutional, cultural and private sector on the panel. But the audience will be heard as well! Make sure you take part! Right now, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is gathered in Istanbul to discuss the status of World Heritage Sites across the world. In this yearly meeting the committee decides on new sites and advises on the status of existing sites. Zanzibar’s Stone Town is renown for its rich history that is reflected in its buildings and urban structure. In the 90’s, the Government of Zanzibar made efforts for Stone Town to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This lead to the implementation of the Stone Town Planning regulations, Stone Town Heritage Management Plan and Stone Town Conservation Guidelines and all set up to save the historic character. This status was granted in 2000. The aim for the government was to protect Stone Town as source of identity and cohesion for all Zanzibari’s and to improve its attractiveness for the tourists. Zanzibar is known for its excellent beaches, but there are more places on earth offering this. However there is only one Stone Town in the world. Zanzibar recognised the potential of economic growth that comes with a successful tourist industry. In the World Heritage Committee, it will be discussed if the World Heritage Status of Stone Town is at risk. Over the last years, UNESCO has been monitoring the way Zanzibar was maintaining its status and is questioning the way it operates. What advise can we give the Zanzibar delegation that is currently in Istanbul to defend our case? #Unesco #Event #Zanzibar

  • On Thursday 14 July in Montreal: The voyages of four reflective practitioners

    This year will see the transfer of a considerable part of the extensive mediatheque from African Architecture Matters into the hands of the Canadian Centre for Architecture. CCA is much better equipped to make sure that the material will be available for students, scholars and researchers than our small organisation. For that reason, Antoni Folkers is visiting the CCA and this was seen as an opportunity to organise a lecture on the voyages that are caught in the AAmatters mediatheque. You are welcome at CCA in Montreal on Thursday 14 July at 18:00hrs at Shaughnessy House. For more information, please visit here. #Event

  • Saturday 4 June: Ng’ambo Tuitakayo presentation at Mapinduzi Park (Michenzani) in Zanzibar

    Join us, Saturday 4 June from 14-21hrs for the public presentation, with also music performances of Swahili Vibes, Tausi Taarab, Mwanadege, tours by Kawa Training Centre and an on site film show by ZIFF! In September 2015, the production of the Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan was taken in hand by a joint initiative of the Department of Urban and Rural Planning (DoURP), the City of Amsterdam and African Architecture Matters (AAMatters) with support from the Netherlands government. Through research, planning and design work by the project team, a final draft of the Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan is now ready to be shared with the community and private stakeholders. The Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan consists of a three components: The Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan The Historic Urban Landscape Atlas of Ng’ambo The Michenzani Green Corridors Project appraisal The Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan is a structure plan that outlines the proposed future spatial development of Ng’ambo Tuitakayo in policies, maps and images for the next ten years to come. The main strategic vectors that direct the planning proposals are: (re)connection of the people and the parts of the city with its rich culture, history and natural environment, through improved public transport, pedestrian malls and modern car parking facilities; Enhancement of the vibrancy of the City Centre through expanding commercial activity, improving public recreation facilities and culture; Protection and improvement of the quality of inclusive residency in the City Centre. The Historic Urban Landscape Atlas of Ng’ambo is fruit of the cultural heritage research that was carried out and unveils the vast riches of Ng’ambo’s cultural, social and natural heritage. The Atlas underpins the Zanzibar City Centre Local Area Plan, following the UNESCO Historic Urban Landscapes principles. The Michenzani Green Corridors Project appraisal is an urban scheme design that explores and proposes the upgrading of the public realm in the heart of Ng’ambo Tuitakayo, as well as suggests distinct areas for private and/or public development. The above outcomes will be publically presented in the heart of Ng’ambo, in the park at Mapinduzi Tower on Saturday 4 June 2016 between 14-17hrs. The presentation includes an exhibition, a public debate, music, food and pleasure. A film show organised by ZIFF closes the event (between 19-21hrs.). We look forward to see you there. Follow Ng’ambo Tuitakayo via Facebook #Zanzibar #Presentation #Event #Urbanplanning

  • Stories from Ng’ambo at the Urban Narratives symposium

    In the past weeks, a team of Zanzibar’s Department of Urban and Rural Planning and AAmatters have been working in Ng’ambo to explore the hidden stories of this historically rich area in Zanzibar town. On Friday 1 April they will present their preliminary findings at the Urban Narratives / Simulizi Mijini symposium at the British Council in Dar es Salaam. The symposium further brings an interesting group of people together from other parts of the continent and beyond, like Hannah Le Roux, Johan Lagae and Joy Mboya. For more info visit DARCH Facebook page. #heritagemanagement #heritage #HistoricUrbanLandscape #Presentation

  • Never too late to start caring about urban heritage?

    On Friday 1st of April we had the pleasure to present our project Ng’ambo Tuitakayo alongside renown scholars and urban activists as Hannah Le Roux, Johan Lagae, Joy Mboya and Iain Jackson (only to mention a few) at the Simulizi Mijini symposium on Urban Heritage in Dar Es Salaam. The symposium was jointly organized by DARCH and the TU Berlin. It started with a session on urban heritage in an international African context and gradually narrowed down its focus towards Tanzania and Zanzibar to end up with a discussion on built legacy and cultural heritage in Dar Es Salaam. Many issues related to the topic of urban heritage were raised along the way which later on led to interesting discussions on the political nature of heritage, the contested and highly problematic notion of shared heritage in the postcolonial context and the overall difficulty of defining the term heritage in relation to the multi-layered nature of cities. On a more practical note we also discussed various methods of engaging with local communities and stimulating a more conscious approach to urban heritage. Here a special thanks to Joy Mboya for sharing some insights from the incredibly inspiring annual festival Nai Ni Who? taking place in Nairobi. Despite the considerable length of the symposium the topic in itself appears to be close enough to everyone’s heart to keep the public engaged until the end. While no one dared to come with a definition of heritage, it seemed like the majority of people in the room would agree on the fluid and mutable nature of heritage and the importance of a more holistic approach to urban heritage. The day ended with a reception on the rooftop of the Old Boma, itself a listed monument, and the future quarters of DARCH. The choice of venue seemed only appropriate in the context of the discussions that had taken place earlier that day. Especially, when regarding the setting of the Old Boma, literary dwarfed by the surrounding high-rise buildings, and pondering one of the last remarks of the symposium that it is never too late to start caring about urban heritage. It’s needless to add that in that particular physical context, the sub-title of the symposium Reconfiguring Urban Heritage From Below took upon a whole new meaning. #heritage #Zanzibar #Presentation #heritagemanagement

  • Finding Stories reviewed

    The ‘Ajax Amsterdam maskan’ in Ng’ambo (Photo Marie Morel) Peter Pels - professor in the anthropology of sub-Saharan Africa at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of Leiden University - moderated the discussions in the afternoon sessions of the symposium ‘Finding Stories’ that took place on 30 January at Stadsherstel in Amsterdam. His report on the symposium has just been published on the Leiden Anthropology Blog. A good read! #Zanzibar #Amsterdam #Anthropology #Urbanplanning

  • After Finding Stories, the story continues

    The symposium ‘Finding Stories :: The Role of Immaterial Culture in City Planning’ that took place in the Amstelkerk (Amsterdam) on 30 January attracted more participants than expected and certainly broadened perspectives and brought new ideas to the fore when it comes to how to include intangible heritage in urban planning. Soon we will give you more feedback on the outcomes and conclusions. We are grateful for the financial support of RVO, Stimuleringsfonds and Dutch Culture and our smooth partnership with the Municipality of Amsterdam and Stadsherstel, that made it possible to organise the event. Meanwhile Zanzibar’s Department of Urban and Rural Planning and African Architecture Matters are preparing return to Ng’ambo again for the continuation of the mapping and planning exercises, enriched by the inspiring presentations. (Photos below Jon Gunnarsson Ruthman) #IntangibleHeritage #Zanzibar #Amsterdam #Urbanplanning #Culture

  • Finding Stories programme available

    While the hall at Pakhuis De Zwijger was almost completely full for the presentation on Hifadhi Zanzibar today, we are already preparing for the next public event: the symposium Finding Stories :: The Role of Immaterial Culture in City Planning. Also for this event the amount of registrations has exceeded our expectations and we are happy to bring together at least 19 nationalities. You can now download the full programme. In case you are still interested to join, please send us an e-mail so we can see what we can do. #Zanzibar #Amsterdam #Urbanplanning #Culture #Anthropology

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