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Anam City presents in Casablanca at African Perspectives Conference

10 Nov

Recognized as an emerging model for urbanism in Africa, the Anam City project presented at the 2011 African Perspectives conference, a prominent symposium that brings together top academic and professionals engaged in design and architectural work around the continent. The conference, organized by ArchiAfrika out of the Netherlands was held from November 3-7th, 2011 in Casablanca, Morocco.  This year’s main theme was the ‘The African Metropolis’, offering the challenging topic of urban growth in Africa.  Keynote speaker, sociologist Saskia Sassen kicked off the event by discussing the importance of technology in the city and ways that the urban metropolis and its residents can communicate.    Other speakers from around the world presented on subtopics including:

  • African urbanity: informal/formal
  • From landscape of industrial production to productive cultural cityscape, and
  • The periphery of the African metropolis

The Anam City project was very well received and the Chife Foundation team was able to connect with other practitioners and researchers who are developing other concepts compatible with our interest in sustainability in the African city.   African architect, Joe Osae-Addo in particular lauded the Anam City Project as an example of using design to stimulate social entrepreneurship.

The next conference will be held in 2013 in Nigeria.  The Chife Foundation plans to participate and will bring updates on the construction of Anam City.  We will have a lot to show off in two years!

Saskia Sassen opened the conference on the African Metropolis

Anam Under Water [VIDEO]

9 Nov

Annual flooding has become a part of life in Anam. People travel throughout the region from farm to market on the rivers by canoe to conduct trade. They respond to the natural hydrological systems for their survival and have innovated many solutions for managing their resources during the floods. On farm settlements, farmers build flexible farm storage and construct mounds near their housing for protection.

The wetland condition resulting from the floods are a critical contributor to regional biodiversity and ecological strength.The seasonal floodwaters serve as a natural irrigation and deposits nutrient-rich sediments on to farmlands.  However, increasing population and urbanization creates pressure on the hydrologic system in this riverine area. Conventional development causes wetland areas to be reduced, which damages water supply and quality. A depleted flood plain also increases risk of flooding in other areas of the region as water rushes in during the rainy season, contributing to aggressive erosion.  International research on climate change issues also demonstrate that vulnerable areas such as Anam will be at even greater risk as water levels rise.

The design of ANAM CITY takes an ecological approach to urban development that manages nature and civilization, such that neither is compromised.  The city will preserve and enhance 85% of the existing wetlands, while urban infrastructure will follow low-impact guidelines so that stormwater can actually complement the city’s design.  The result is an emerging wetland and riverfront edge that will mitigate any human impacts and allow for the long term stability of both the community and ecological systems.  The Anam culture of canoe transport is also integral to the urban design framework for the city, which will address the Ezichi River for its primary access points.

Cultivating Prosperity: Markets & Opportunity [PHOTOS]

31 Oct

The Anam people are successful farmers who produce an estimated 70% of the food in Anambra State in yams, cassava and fish. For these farmers, the urban market is the cornerstone of economic activity and livelihood as it facilitates diversity and opportunity. In order to compete with a globalized marketplace, the Anam City project team is working with the community to grow more resilient agricultural systems that can integrate technology with sustainable land use. In particular, the October 2010 site visit included dedicated research in the local market at Otuocha, and the regional market in Onitsha. The Onitsha Market is the largest in West Africa and admired by Anam people for its high level of organization and legibility. The Anam City market under development will also demonstrate exemplary design while providing innovations in storage, circulation and information technology.

The photographic slideshow above includes portraits from the Markets in Otuocha and Onitsha in Anambra State, Nigeria in October, 2010.

Innovating Site Analysis with Web Mapping & GPS

25 Oct

Chife Foundation Design Team Collecting Site Data

With the range of new online and digital tools available for mapping, the Anam City design team has developed a cutting-edge approach to converting site data into a workable design format such as Autocad or Google Sketchup. Engineering surveys can be costly and time consuming, so for a non-profit community-based project, purchasing a third-party survey was not immediately feasible.  Integrating free online software (Google) with our tried and true standbys (Autocad) this low cost and fairly quick process took about 2 weeks to collect and synthesize for our 200-hectare site.  With a handheld GPS any community could execute their own mapping project for local development projects and planning initiatives.  With the constellation of GPS data from our site visit, we were able to convert the data for use in Autocad and later in Google Earth, Maps and Sketchup for mapping and 3-D modeling.

    We are using the data to generate an existing conditions survey which will be the base for our urban design drawings. In this way, we are able to create an accurate site adaptive plan efficiently.  The GPS data also includes elevations, so as needed you can extrapolate topographic information as well.   As the city develops,  individual buildings and infrastructure can be created in Google Sketchup and submitted to the Google Earth online database.


     

    Check out the ANAM CITY GPS data in a shared Google Map below:

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