Mr. William Halm, Principal Architect of Spektra Global, a Ghanaian Design -Build firm, has lauded the decision by government to redevelop the city of Accra into a modern city.
According to him, the country’s capital needs to be planned and properly maintained.
However, Mr. Halm believes the redevelopment of Accra could have been procured through a national design competition, which would afford architects and urban design professionals in Ghana the opportunity to present proposals for the planning of Accra.
This recommendation comes on the heels of government’s engagement with Singaporean architect and planner, Dr. Liu Thai-Ker, to oversee the remodeling of Accra into a modern city.
“All over the world, new massive projects are sometimes procured through design competitions. Ghana can also initiate a national competition for the re-design and planning of the capital city, thus giving the opportunity to Ghanaian professionals to display their competences as well as contribute to the development of the nation”, he said.
He stated that in the Czech Republic, the Prague city council initiated a national design competition for the redevelopment of a portion of their city. Similarly, in May 2018, the Korean Land and Housing Corporation initiated an international urban design competition for the Tongyeong Dockyard in order to regenerate the neighborhood into a more vibrant urban area.
“In Kenya, UN habitat and Kenya’s Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development initiated a collaborative design competition to seek planning and creative ideas for sustainable urban development in Kenya. Thus, Kenyan professionals were involved in providing solutions for their own cities”, he added.
The challenges that are expected to be solved over the next fifty years in the re-planning of Accra involve easing traffic congestion, environmental pollution, poor housing, communicable diseases, and rural-urban migration among others.
Mr. Halm said Ghanaian architects and urban designers are better positioned to understand the nuances of the city of Accra better than anyone else and are more so, “capable of designing and planning our own cities and government needs to understand our abilities and create opportunities for growth for our own architects”.
He said using Ghanaian architects feeds into the government’s desire for a ‘Ghana beyond aid’ thus creating more jobs for the economy and building local capacity.
“Ghana beyond aid should also be seen from the perspective of being free from aid in all sectors including consulting work. Our architects and urban planners are capable of solving the planning challenges of our cities given the same support and resources. This was the heartfelt desire of the first President of Ghana; Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah when he said ‘the black man is capable of managing his own affairs’’, said Mr. Halm.
“We need to use our own architects to solve our problems. Ghanaians are capable, we are intelligent!” Mr. Halm concluded.