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African Crossroads 2018 Collaboration #1

Learning from Lamu: Water, Urban Transformation & African Heritage

With over 70% of Africa’s major cities and capitals situated next to water, water is an asset and ‘water cities’ are becoming the emerging urban landscape.

Lamu Island, which is Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town and Swahili settlement believed to have been established since the late 14th century. Its strategic location on the African continent and proximity to water as infrastructure enabled Lamu to serve as a major historic port, agriculture area and trading post for the Arabian and Far East relationships with Africa.

The Kenyan National Government revealed its ambitious plan to develop a $360 billion project in Lamu county called Lamu Portal South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET). This will include a new port city, a special economic zone, a resort and railways, which could make Kenya a major continental hub to the rest of the world through Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Kunlé Adeyemi (Architect and Urban Researcher) and Azza Satti (Cultural Producer) take on the challenge to explore and observe the ongoing changes in Lamu in regards to water and urban transformation, and how that affects the Swahili heritage of Lamu Town.