Driving down the highway to StratComm in a cramped trotro, all I can see on either side of me as I peer out the window are buildings crowded on top of each other, many left unfinished from abandoned construction projects. Village homes are inches apart from each other. I can see people bumping and pushing past one other in order to get through these narrow dirt pathways. The air is thick with fumes from the cars that surround my trotro. The insistent horns from taxi drivers seeking out their passengers for the morning drive top off this chaotic scene.
Accra is overcrowded with people, buildings and smells, and its layout is dizzyingly disorganized – but it wasn’t intended to be this way.
Interning at StratComm, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about the original city plans for Accra, drawn up in 1958 during Kwame Nkrumah regime. In the original plan, there were pieces of land blocked off for green spaces. The presence of these open spaces were intended to provide a sense of community for city dwellers, a space where sports and exercise could take place and people could come together to unwind from the chaos.
Upon Ghana’s Independence, the city of Accra and its inhabitants grew at an alarming rate, making it nearly impossible to keep its development organized. As the city grew rapidly, these green spaces were forgotten.
The Ghana Garden and Flower Movement, a campaign developed by StratComm, seeks to create awareness about the commercial, aesthetic and health benefits of horticulture and floriculture. It seeks to celebrate Ghana’s unique flora and fauna while combating the series of structural issues Accra harbors.
Working on this campaign has given me an interesting historical insight and an opportunity to contribute to improving Ghana’s beauty and structural development.