The capital of Ghana is increasingly exposed to fatal and costly urban floods every year, made worse by unregulated construction over waterways and by streams clogged-up with garbage. If the floods continue into the future in this chronic manner, they will probably encourage the people of Accra’s flood-prone zones to migrate to other areas.
Over the coming decades, those families who build their houses above the flood-line will avoid disaster. After one-hundred years of this ongoing process, the whole population of Accra will have either migrated inland or they will have built their homes in the nearby forests. This second option becomes attractive for those poorer urban citizens who realize that they can use the wealth and security of the forest to supply their housing needs building low-cost pre-fab tree cabins in the canopy.
Accra 2121 will begin simply; a few families moving from their drowned shanty towns into the surrounding forest during a flood and resurrecting their homes out of harm’s way. More will join them, including migrants from the rural hinterlands, and together, they all gradually learn to grow all their own food and recycle organic waste within the forest in a sustainable manner. The forest’s value to them will encourage the Accra’s new tree-citizens to protect the forest from those that would clear them; i.e.: the logging companies, the mining companies and the oil companies, for instance. Currently these industries contribute to a Ghana’s current standing as the country with one of the highest deforestation rates in the world.
The vision of Accra 2121 presented here, will likely be looked-down upon by those profiting from Africa’s current resource boom but for those living in the slums and shanty-towns of modern day Accra, the idea of being able to live in a safe tree-house with your family, and to secure an income from harvesting forest products before sharing them sustainably with one’s neighbors--all this is positively utopian.