Accra Under Construction

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By Laurian B. As rural to urban migration continues to outpace housing in Accra, Ghana, I was unsurprised by the number of construction projects that took place during the summer of 2011. However, many of these building projects were not in the areas where they are needed most. Whenever I conduct research with migrants in Accra, there are recurrent conversations about the lack of affordable and sanitary housing. Rental fees can strip all earnings within a year for most tenants. Accra resident...
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Zielony’s Sails, A Review

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By Beth U. I recently went to see Vele (Sails), the photographic work of German artist Tobias Zielony at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Through stop motion video and a series of photographs, Zielony documents a desolate housing project in the outskirts of Naples known as “The Sails of Scampia.” In the 1960s, architect Francesco Di Salvo designed the complex to house working-class families and furnish them the fixings of ideal city living, such as parks and playing fields. Now, warri...
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Laurian is in Ghana: Reflection on Tipping

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By Laurian B. For tourists to Ghana’s capital, the Osu area is probably the most well known area of Accra. In Osu, foreigners easily find comfort foods from home and enjoy Internet access at expat owned coffee shops. A week ago, my friend Adua raved about a decadent chocolate dessert at Pinnacle Restaurant and invited some folks to join us there. The brightly tiled multistoried building sits off Osu’s main drag, Cantonments Road. The street is more colloquially known as Oxford Street, in d...
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Launch and Remembrance

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By Beth U. Today I found out that a friend I met while conducting fieldwork in Punta Gorda, Belize passed away.  She contacted me several weeks ago and I had yet to return her email, busy with a new semester of teaching.  Panic and remorse follow me these hours after her death.  Pieces of the days we spent together filter through my thoughts and the rawness of fieldwork returns.  We walk the humid, mud-sluiced streets of PG at night.  We grasp arms as our small boat to a remote island caye hi...
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