Mobile A2K

Culture and Safety in Africa

The project

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 with a specific, inter-disciplinary and comparative approach. The study is based on the analysis of innovative and reviewed cultural events and public art installations produced in three violent and unsafe African cities: Douala, Johannesburg and Luanda. 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 inter-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 to allow researchers, ngos and policy makers to consider new ways of improving the lives of slum dwellers. The research involves sociology, urban planning, visual arts and information design, and it is implemented with the support of an international network of cultural and development organizations and research centres.

This project has been conceived and supported by

lettera27 Foundation

It has been co-funded by

the Swiss Network for International Studies

It is coordinated by

SUPSI, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland