The Principal Architect at Design Protocol, Arc Laud Affotey, has issued a stark warning about the possible transformation of Cantonments, a well-known affluent area in Accra, into a slum within the next decade.
This cautionary message was delivered during a sustainable construction development symposium where Arc Affotey expressed deep concern about the current construction trends in Cantonments and the potential dangers they pose.
“In 10 years, Cantonments will be a slum. If you're not aware, it is already a slum in the making. That is one of the best locations we've had in this country but in a few years, it will be a slum,” cautioned the seasoned architect on Friday.
The principal architect attributed this alarming situation to the sidelining of local consultants by private developers, leading to a departure from the original plan for the community.
Cantonments was initially designed as a low-density community featuring spacious bungalows and ample green spaces. However, the influx of foreign private developers has altered the landscape significantly.
“They (private developers) buy the land for $1 million or $2 million and they use it for a purpose which makes commercial sense to them. So instead of the original plan, which was a single-occupant facility, they have developed it into a multi-occupant facility which brings density,” explained Arc Affotey.
He highlighted the unintended consequences of this shift, including increased traffic congestion, a decline in the sense of community and security, and a lack of recreational areas for residents.
Affotey emphasized the negative impact on Cantonments' reputation, citing incidents of robbery that were previously unheard of in the area.
“At Cantonments, we knew everybody – we knew the Speaker of Parliament's House and Chief Executives in the area – so you don't go to Cantonments to steal, but it is already beginning to happen,” he remarked.
During the symposium, Arc Laud Affotey called on his colleagues in the construction industry to prioritize eco-friendly options for the benefit of future generations.
He proposed practices such as the reuse of materials, reduction of material imports, and the revival of the timber industry to contribute to environmental conservation.
“Sustainability does not mean don't build. It means, let's build in a way that we can have all the pleasures that we want and still be able to preserve the community and environment that we have for the next generation. We can do this,” he urged.