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Mega-Developments: Leap-frog existing cities? [FUTURE CITIES]

30 May

As the first morning of the Future Cities conference wrapped up, discussion focused on the economic and environmental advantages of large-scale extra-governmental development projects.  Arnold Meyer, head of Real Estate Africa at Renaissance Group, the morning’s penultimate speaker, claimed that these mega-developments could “leap-frog” existing cities in terms of social, economic, and environmental conditions.  David Frame, managing director of the massive Eko Atlantic project in Lagos, spoke during the following panel about how by “reclaiming” and stabilizing a stretch of land on Victoria Island, they are radically improving the business environment, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, and thereby substantially improving the standard of living of Lagos.

These speakers championed large-scale top-down development models, with little resistance from the discussion moderator or conference attendees.  What, one might ask, happens to the existing cities?  What are the repercussions of increasing the rich/ poor divide?Image

Bamboo Workshop Shed Constructed: space-frame structure, indigenous construction techniques

13 May

Second Bamboo Workshop Shed constructed

Construction Underway on Bamboo Workshop Shed

In anticipation of the fast-approaching rainy season, last week we completed a new workshop shed space to be used by our carpenters. Situated in open space next to the recently completed Yam Storage Barn, the structure is supported by (and provides shade for) an adjacent shipping container currently serving as mechanic home base.

Bamboo 1:25 model

The project was an exciting collaboration between our design team and local bamboo craftsmen. Harnessing local knowledge and indigenous building techniques, and capitalizing on skills and craftsmanship particular to bamboo construction, we were able to create a very stable space-frame truss system to carry a fairly expansive roof on just four columns.

Having initially developed the design through sketches and digital models, we discovered that creating a physical model was an incredibly powerful tool for communicating the design to Dominic and Peter, two Anamite bamboo carpenters, who were able to quickly and clearly understand the necessary components and connections involved.

Bamboo Carpenters Dominic and Peter discuss construction with Architect Stephen