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Amui Djor Housing Project, Ghana

Submission by Emmanuel Kusi Ofori-Sarpong

The Amui Djor housing project, designed by Ghanaian architect Tony Asare, is (to my knowledge) the best example of low-income housing in contemporary Ghana. It is located to the east of Accra, within one of the informal communities that emerged as a result of the growth of Tema industrial city. The architect made excellent use of a traditional spatial idiom in which multiple-family units share a central court and other facilities. The project accommodates 32 families on the first and second floors, with the ground floor dedicated to commercial activities. Nestled within the compact clusters of self-built houses it is an excellent example of how some of the seemingly intractable urban challenges in Ghanaian cities can be solved with local resources, provided there is political will. One of the most interesting aspects of the project is that, whilst construction took over 15 months, consultations between the local government, UN-Habitat, landowners, the traditional council of chiefs, Ghana Federation for the Urban Poor and the Peoples Dialogue took over 8 years. This meant that the project started in one political regime and was completed in the next, a situation that is uncommon in Ghana's recent history of housing and politics.

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