Mobile Access to Knowledge: Culture and Safety in Africa. Documenting and assessing the impact of cultural events and public art on urban safety.
To what extent can cultural events and public art contribute to enhancing urban safety and security in slums?

Summary

As the Millennium Development Goals declare, the achievement of a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers is essential. Safety is a priority, as the UN-Habitat publication on enhancing urban safety and security has recently shown. This research focuses on safety, but with a very specific, pluri-disciplinary and comparative approach.

The study is based on the analysis of innovative cultural events and public art installations produced in three violent and unsafe African cities : Douala (Cameroon), Johannesburg (South Africa), and Luanda (Angola). Cultural events and public art are not meant to produce safety : they are a space of experimentation with side effects : one of those is safety. Douala is the location of a major cultural event on public art and of a critical number of public installations conceived in over twenty years. Johannesburg is at the centre of a policy of urban renovation implemented through cultural initiatives. Luanda has assisted in the last seven years to a post-war cultural strategy. Informal studies have assessed the experimental capacity of those experiences of producing livability, civil cohabitation and social cohesion, the main features of urban safety. Further knowledge and a pluri-disciplinary and comparative approach is needed to acknowledge the role and the impact of cultural events and public art on safety.

This knowledge made available at a local and international level through ICT and mobile phone technology is essential in order to allow researchers, NGOs and policy makers to consider new ways of improving the lives of slum dwellers.

Keywords

  • Development
  • Visual arts
  • Access to information
  • Urban safety
  • Urban planning
  • Information visualisation

Disciplines

  • Architecture
  • Arts
  • IT
  • Security
  • Sociology
  • Urban planning

Collaborations

NGOs, States or other Institutions

  • Doual’art, Douala, Cameroon
  • Lettera27 Foundation, Milan, Italy
  • Chimurenga/African Cities Reader, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Orange, Cameroon
  • SOSO – arte contemporânea, Luanda, Angola

Relevant Countries

  • Angola
  • Cameroon
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland

Status

This project, started in 2011, has been completed.

Contact the project team

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Research team

David Fornari 
Coordinator
Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana

Marilyn Douala Bell
Principal Member
Doual’art

Emanuela Fanny Bonini Lessing
Principal Member
Università IUAV di Venezia

Serena Cangiano
Principal Member
Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana

Ntone Edjabe
Principal Member
Kalakuta Trust

Ismail Farouk
Principal Member
University of Cape Town

Aude Guyot
Principal Member
Ecole nationale supérieure des Télécommunications

Edgar Pieterse
Associated Member
University of Cape Town

Isabella Rega
Associated Member
Università della Svizzera Italiana

Cecilia Liveriero Lavelli
Co-Coordinator
Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana

Luca Morici
Principal Member
Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana

Iolanda Pensa
Principal Member
lettera27 Foundation

Marta Pucciarelli
Principal Member
Università della Svizzera Italiana

Didier Schaub
Principal Member
Doual’art

Fabio Vanin
Principal Member
Latitude

Fernando Alvim
Associated Member
SOSO – arte contemporânea Trienal de Luanda

Lorenzo Cantoni
Associated Member
Università della Svizzera Italiana

Roberto Casati
Associated Member
Ecole normale supérieure

Simon Njami
Associated Member
Sindika Dokolo Foundation