Spatial practices of claiming place: Learning from everyday life in Accra, Ghana

Authors: Victoria Okoye*, University of Sheffield
Topics: Cultural Geography, Urban Geography, Qualitative Methods
Keywords: Space, spatial appropriation, critical geography, collaborative research, creative methods
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This PhD research project is conducted in collaboration with two NGOs and utilizes residents’ everyday practices of using and adapting space as an epistemological starting point toward co-producing new understandings of African urban space. In the West African city of Accra, residents inhabit, use, and adapt streets, roadsides, sidewalks, and open and available spaces to perform everyday life: street vending, cultural and religious processions, funerals, domestic activities such as cooking and washing, pickup recreational activities, leisure activities, community gatherings. These spatial practices form part of the organizing logic of space in the city, demonstrate residents' everyday spatial needs and priorities, and also contest dominant government planning and design. Employing a critical framework informed by postcolonial theory and feminist methodology and using participatory visual methods, this research aims to expose and critique the colonial tendencies embedded and reproduced in the dominant modernist planning and design frameworks which inform Accra’s built landscape, to de-link from these modernist and global north conceptions of space, and to theorize from residents’ grounded spatial practices, meanings, and relationships. This poster presentation shares initial findings from fieldwork activities working with young residents to visually document site-specific spatial practices of claiming everyday space, along with the associated meanings, knowledges, and negotiated power dynamics.

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