New LOGIC for Africa

1 Sep


The urgent need for sustainability today demands new systems of thinking and new approaches to problem solving — new spheres of logic.  Societies are no longer considered independent of the natural environment and neither can both exist outside of the influence of technology.  The Logic of the ANAM model is the unique conceptual basis and theoretical underpinning of our sustainability perspective, which lives in the confluence of three spheres: Sociologic, Ecologic and Technologic (SET).  The three spheres together form a regime of sustainability in which all three interactively control viability, performance and outcome.  These mutually reinforcing logics are used to assess each urban design strategy.

Sociologic: Communalism and interdependence are embedded in most African traditional cultures, yet often lost in modern society.  Because a truly sustainable urbanism is facilitated and manifested through its social roots, it must be grounded in cultural heritage, both in practice and in form.  Thus the system of collective progress, as defined by the society itself, is most resilient against socially destructive forces and reflective of the African tradition of development.  Therefore, a sociological strategy is understood as one that is culturally relevant, collectively improves human quality of life and encourages responsible citizenship.

Ecologic: Africa is blessed with abundant and diverse natural resources. The local ecology has been a source of physical sustenance, creative inspiration and a struggle for survival.  These three experiences are independently significant yet must be fairly and simultaneously addressed. Therefore, an ecological strategy is a balanced and respectful management of natural resources that meets human needs, enhances natural beauty and mitigates natural hazards.

Technologic: There is an urgent need in Africa for practical solutions to life-threatening problems stemming from natural and man-made causes.  An ‘urgent practicality’ means solutions must be readily implementable, scalable and able to yield tangible results for the present generation. Furthermore, local innovation within traditional systems is an important counter to the vulnerabilities of aid dependency. Therefore, a technological strategy is a practical, problem-solving application that appropriates indigenous knowledge systems, advances innovation, supports resilience and optimizes processes (time, money, resources).

Economics, though traditionally understood as the third sphere of sustainability, is excluded from this SET not as a devaluation of the global phenomena, but to advance the assertion that a system of production of material wealth is not central to, but results from the collective endurance and progress of humankind as derived from this SET.  The model posits the Logical SET of interrelationships as the basis for articulating a truly sustainable city, one that is both uniquely African and universally laudable.

One Response to “New LOGIC for Africa”

  1. PaulBayo November 2, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    To say the S-E-T Sustainability model is brilliant would be an understatement. It is definitely a revolutionary approach that promises to address some of the core problems encountered with the hitherto unsuccessful introduction of ‘foreign’ sustainability models across African communities. Many of these external models seldom take into account the intrinsic socioeconomic, environmental and technological peculiarities of our communities and have simply not produced the kinds of success achieved elsewhere. Decades of playing catch-up with the rest of the world in pretty much every indicator of societal progress clearly shows the futility of Africa’s embrace of models/ideas that were not consistent with the realities and challenges across its vast and variegated societies.

    The S-E-T ‘tri-logics’ represents a departure from business as usual. The model recognizes, respects and incorporates the fundamental considerations that puts Anam at the center of its sustainability designs. It is just a matter of time (a relatively short one) before the world takes note of the incredible progress and transformation taking place at Anam. I foresee a major paradigm shift in sustainable development planning and policy implementation across Africa, and the S-E-T sustainability framework should be credited with birthing that new dawn.

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