Project description by jury
Kampala, the principal and capital city of Uganda, suffers from territorial, social and economic fragmentation. The Muyenga-Namuwongo neighborhood, where high- and low-income communities face each other without any interaction, is a striking example of this condition. The goal of the project is to bridge these gaps through the creation of a system defined by a network of punctual and transversal interventions, allowing for people in the different parts of the neighborhood to connect. This system consists of “points”, which refer to social and public areas strategically and equally distributed across the neighborhood, connected by “links” including improved pedestrian and transport infrastructure. Colorful bridges, jogging trails, food markets, train stops, urban gardens, and cultural and recreational facilities are all design elements deployed to transform the neighborhood from a grey/cold space into a green/social district with an improved sense of place. Undeveloped land is converted into open public spaces that accommodate informal economic activities, stimulating the generation of synergies across sectors in different parts of the city and encouraging the creation of a circular economy. Local people are involved throughout the project implementation as co-creators and “curators” – together with the city authorities –of this resilient and sustainable improved community.
The LafargeHolcim Awards jury Middle East Africa enthusiastically applauded this project: first, because of the young author’s maturity in understanding and analyzing the physical, environmental and social challenges of the context; secondly, for the convincing methodology and ultimate solution proposed to tackle them. The project is well articulated and suggests an interesting inter-scale approach to redefine the identity of the neighborhood, introducing concepts that are easily transferable to other parts of the city or other geographical contexts. The proposal provides a fresh, optimistic vision of an empowered community through the improvement of the spatial dynamics of Kampala and consequent strengthening of the social and economic connections.See more
People: Co-creation of a sustainable system
People become co-creators with the city authorities of a safe, resilient, and sustainable community through their involvement in creating and maintaining these social spaces. The system takes into account people as custodians of the points and links and therefore ensures social inclusion since everyone is assigned a role to play. The system promotes the use of natural surveillance which keeps the neighbourhood safe and nurtures a sense of ownership within the community residents. The system provides a platform for collaboration between various stakeholders, the community, and authorities, hence empowering the residents. The improved transport and drainage infrastructure promote safe travel and mitigate flooding within the Informal settlement, hence building a more resilient community.
Place: Spatial quality and place making
The project seeks to redefine the identity of the neighbourhood. The bold and colorful designs of the pedestrian bridges, food market and train-stop which are a gateway into this neighbourhood greatly improve its aesthetics. The use of urban agriculture to transform streets from grey/cold spaces into green-social spaces and the addition of improved pedestrian walkways, jogging trails and seating areas enhance the pedestrians experience and create a unique sense of place. The project encourages the transformation of undeveloped land into open public spaces that accommodate informal economic activity. The cultural aspects of the neighbourhood are celebrated through the creation of the commercial street that hosts the popular bi-weekly market, capturing the character of the place.
Progress: A multiscalar system and a circular economy
The project concept is applicable on the neighbourhood planning scale and can be transferred to the metropolitan, regional and global scale. The links and points in the system can be scaled up from pedestrian walkways connecting community public spaces, to railway lines connecting public institutions in different cities. The concept is applicable both horizontally; in the physical spatial planning, and vertically; in the formulation of political and economic policies by the governing authorities. The system stimulates the creation of a circular economy and encourages innovation; for example, the Kasanvu Art Gallery where waste from the area is recycled into art. The improved transport infrastructure eases trade and the generation of synergies across sectors in different parts of the city.See more
Uganda's capital Kampala is highly fragmented territorially, socially, and economically. The architect Priscilla Namwanje from Kampala intends to bridge gaps in the Muyenga-Namuwongo neighborhood with her project. Thus, between the two very different districts, new connections and a network of public spaces are to be created: bridges, jogging trails, a marketplace, a train station, urban gardens, and cultural and recreational facilities. The district is to be transformed from a gray locality into a green social neighborhood. Walkways will be upgraded and will double as drainage channels to help mitigate flooding. The local community will be involved in the implementation of each step of the project.
“Co-creation is a tool to solve the problem of community fragmentation, not just in the spatial sense but also in terms of policy,” believes the young architect. The jury is fascinated by the optimistic approach to transform a highly fragmented district into an attractive environment. The project improves the infrastructure, strengthens the social cohesion, and can be easily transferred to other places. “We liked that the project makes a link between an answer that is inherently urban and a highly localized human scale,” says Marilyne Andersen: “It shows a deep awareness of how we live and how we want to live.”Read more »
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