MA in Critical Urbanisms Students Study Infrastructure and Urbanism in Ghana

In early November 2018, the students of the MA in Critical Urbanisms participated in a one-week research trip to Accra, Ghana. The trip was part of the first-year research studio, “Highway Africa: Infrastructure, Decolonization, and the City,” led by professors Kenny Cupers and Manuel Herz at the University of Basel’s Urban Studies program. For many of the students—who hail from Switzerland, Mexico, India, and South Africa, among other places—the trip was their first opportunity to conduct urban field work and learn about Ghana’s historical experience of nation-building and modernization after independence. The students explored Accra’s colonial and postcolonial architectural heritage and the city’s ongoing processes of transformation and development. From the historic Jamestown to the Black Star Independence Square, they were faced with Ghana’s rich and complex history from slavery to independence and beyond. They studied infrastructure projects such as Tema harbor and the Akosombo Dam, built under the leadership of independent Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah. Students also had the chance to learn from discussions with scholars, government officials, professionals, and representatives of Ghanaian civil society. The previous Mayor of Accra, Nat-Nunno Armateifo, and architects Ralph Mills Tetley and Joe Addo provided invaluable feedback and challenged students’ perspectives. The study trip followed after an intense period of interdisciplinary study and preparation in Basel during the first half of the semester, and provides students with new perspectives to develop a final research project as the conclusion of the research studio. As Herz pointed out, the study trip was an “invaluable step in students’ journey of becoming independent urban researchers.” Prospective candidates for the MA in Critical Urbanisms are invited to apply between 1 February and 30 April 2019. Because of visa application procedures, international applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. More information can be found here: Please contact Michelle Killenberger with any questions.

Solange Mbanefo

© Daniela Meier
© Solange Mbanefo
© Daniela Meier