Benching the City

The quality of surrounding landscape directly affects quality of life. As cities in Africa get bigger and more crowded, making adequate provision for landscaped surroundings is vital.  Well-designed cities aid positive interaction and serve as a backdrop for enriched experiences.


Ghanaian cities are rapidly devolving – Kumasi for instance has lost is lustre as “the garden city of West Africa”, and it’s pleasant green patches disappear as commercial developments take their place; Accra is regularly featured on lists of dirtiest cities; and due to an oil boom, once sleepy port city Takoradi has exploded in a corresponding real estate boom with authorities lacking the will or capacity to regulate.


Finding well-designed, shaded, peaceful and beautiful places to pause, sit, or perhaps just enjoy a good conversation for free is nearly impossible in the hearts of our cities. This presents an opportunity for an insertion of friendly street niches – “urban acupunctures” to relieve the tensions of stressful urban environments. Beyond positive health benefits, these have positive effects on the economy of small-scale businesses in such areas – encouraging people to linger and stroll through rather than rush, rush, rush!


With socially-oriented design we can create simple and yet potent places of respite in Ghanaian cities.


In the first phase of our design-research, we focus on convenience of seating. Various challenges arise – questions of positioning, management, maintenance for example – which offer potential for innovative, exciting solutions.