An architect's investigation into the self-reliance of a Sub-Saharan African community

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    Abstract

    This study investigates how externally initiated development projects and the role of the architect may influence the self-reliance of a local community. The development aid for rural communities aims to improve the living quality, but often does not persist in the long run. The article is based on the author's experience and field research on a rural Sub-Saharan community and was gained during his work for Mt. Elgon Orchards ltd. (Mount Elgon, Kenya 2009-2014). During this period, the inhabitants were relocated from their traditional dwellings to the " new village " which was based on non-local materials and construction methods. Before the relocation, the community of Mount Elgon, Kenya, was largely self-sufficient and lived in a self-planned-, self-built and self-maintained environment. The results of the study show that, due to the use of external design, materialization, planning and construction methods in this recent major (externally initiated) intervention, the community of Mount Elgon finds itself increasingly incapable to maintain its built environment. The paper focuses on both direct factors (e.g. material and methodology) and indirect factors (e.g. social and cultural consequences, that have an influence on the self-reliance of the community).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTradition and Heritage in the Contemporary Image of the City: Monograph. Challenges and responses
    Place of PublicationKrakow
    Pages119-125
    Number of pages7
    Volume2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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    Smits, M. (2014). An architect's investigation into the self-reliance of a Sub-Saharan African community. In Tradition and Heritage in the Contemporary Image of the City: Monograph. Challenges and responses (Vol. 2, pp. 119-125).