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Architectural students mapping Ghana’s biggest city Kumasi

Published on 20.2.2023
Tampere University
Ihmisiä ja katunäkymä Kumasin kaupungin keskustasta.
Streetview from Kumasi city centre. Photo: Anna Koskinen.
Tampere School of Architecture has started cooperation with Aalto University's Interplay of Cultures course. The students are currently working in the field in Kumasi, the largest city in Ghana. They are doing urban survey on features of public space, the everyday life of Kumasi residents and the visibility of different religions in urban space.

Two architecture students from Tampere, Noora Kauppila and Venla Kotilainen, are doing fieldwork in Kumasi from February 12 to March 4, 2023, together with 10 Aalto students and no less than 103 students from KNUST University in Kumasi. The local goal of the fieldwork is to produce basic information (so-called urban survey) about the large urban area between the city centre and the airport, which is becoming international.

Located at the crossroads of historical routes, Kumasi is the capital of the Ashanti Kingdom. Today, the city of over 3.5 million inhabitants is the largest in Ghana. It is an open and multicultural marketplace where the different tribes of Ghana and the inhabitants of the northern neighboring countries have created their own communities and neighborhoods. The Ashanti king and the traditional administration of the region continue to play a major role in Kumasi's economy, decision-making and resource management.

Finnish students conduct qualitative research on themes such as the features of public space, the everyday life of Kumasi residents and the visibility of different religions in urban space. University teacher Taru Niskanen, who plays a key role in the course, studies the cultures of walking in Kumasi. In her doctoral dissertation, she produces pioneering walking counts and new data on who walks in the big city. During the field period, students can participate in Niskanen's multi-method research.

Founded in 1993, the Interplay of Cultures course has worked in Senegal, Benin, Cambodia, Tanzania, the Philippines, and the Sami region. Ghana and Kumasi will be work destinations for at least a few years to come. Saija Hollmén, Professor of Practice in Humanitarian Architecture in Aalto, who leads the course, sees many possibilities in the cooperation of Finnish universities towards Africa. Despite big problems, Africa is the continent of the future.

Further information

Panu Lehtovuori, Professor of Planning Theory
+358 50 525 0252
panu.lehtovuori [at]

Anna Koskinen, Researcher
+358 50 434 4975
anna.k.koskinen [at]