top of page

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?


  • 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.

Recent news
RSS Feed
Search By CAtegories
Search By Tags

Subscribe to our mailing list for news and updates

Follow Us
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • YouTube - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
bottom of page