inner city, Africa, Ghana, Los Angeles, community, civic pride
The study of development in traditional urban Africa is relevant to the contemporary American architect as it offers the possibility to him or her of a neighborhood form that responds to current American social problems. The form of this new American neighborhood might parallel the African village, a strong paradigm reflecting humankind in a non-alienating relationship with the environment. Our urban areas have deteriorated over the past century, in part because planners and architects seemingly have little understanding of the needs of humankind[...] The lack of self expression that humankind faces at home, at work, and in the community weakens not only a sense of self but also civic pride. By looking at tribal societies, architects can begin to understand the American failure in creating a sense of community in the 21st century. In looking at West African cities, specifically those in Ghana, we can see a number of varying ethnic groups co-habitating to form a sense of community, a sense of place. The success of these communities can be experience in the various public and private spaces of the city. Well over two years ago, our nation witnessed the violence in Los Angeles that was created when a group of people felt left our of the political process. A sense of renewed vici pride can be generated through the community center as a marker for reform. Learning from the American Settlement House movement coupled with the African notion of community is where we can begin to provide alternative models for renewing abandoned American inner city neighborhoods.
Nieves, Angel David, "The Urban Neighborhood Collective" (1994). Architecture Senior Theses. Paper 38.
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