Winneba: Lagoon City, Summer Workshop 2015


Please join for a wrap-up presentation of the work conducted this summer examining the cultural and environmental resiliency of the coastal Muni-Pomadze Lagoon and city of Winneba, Ghana.

The project, led by Nancy Takahashi (Architecture), focuses on the complex interwoven forces of geo-morphological change and rapid urbanization impacting coastal African cities in the 21st century. We are engaged in the city of Winneba, Ghana, a historic fishing community that sits on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, 40 miles west of the capital Accra. Like many coastal communities, Winneba faces the challenges of widespread deforestation, informal growth, inadequate sanitary and clean water infrastructures, along with projected impacts of sea level rise, increased heat, and drought.

Bordering Winneba to the west is the Muni-pomadze Lagoon, the sacred founding grounds of the Efutu tribe and site of an important ritual festival that draws thousands of attendees each year. The lagoon is notably one of only five wetlands in Ghana recognized by the Ramsar Convention, whose inter-governmental treaty signed in 1971 calls for the sustainable use and preservation of wetlands worldwide. While its waters are currently healthy compared to other lagoons, the lagoon faces threats of contaminated water and encroaching development.

Working with town leaders and stakeholders, our team is a global collaboration of faculty and students from the U.S., Africa, and U.K. representing the allied fields of Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Geology, Horticulture, Environmental Sciences, and GIS. Together we seek to craft a plan relinking the town to its vital founding lagoon, a relationship we believe holds the environmental and economic key to Winneba’s future. A particular position we are taking is to seek a more resilient Winneba through the reconnection of the town’s sacred, cultural history to its powerful coastal lagoon setting.