African Sharing City & Agricultural Smart Grids
Urbanattic, your connected network of urban granaries
The problem of the availability of the food resource is one that takes more and more place in the review of the urban themes and the African cities of which it is now known that they are those that are urbanized the fastest, Ignore it. If we can ask ourselves what original answers the Africans will be able to take there, in other heavens the expressions of the digital revolution and the rise of IT have already found the ideal playground.
However, “Lomé HubCité” has from the outset displayed the ambition to question the potential of “Smart City” in Africa. Over the past three years, this experiment has consistently contributed, thanks to its #LowHighTech approach and its concern for proximity with the masses, to reshape the perception of the relationship between African contexts and new technologies; Succeeding in putting Togo on the map. If WoeLab the first “Space of Technological Democracy”, installed within the framework of this vision of African Intelligent City, enjoys international recognition with several social innovations and distinguished breakthrough inventions, prestigious awards and quotations, it is also the main Architect of the emergence of this seems a embryo of local tech scene.
The startup culture thus gradually insinuates into the young tissue. WoeLab assumes the status of locomotive and holds the lead; A dozen projects of companies in his stable. With several contracts already won, some with the Government (Ministry of Posts and Digital Economy for the start-up ‘Nativ and Ministry of Agriculture of Livestock and Hydraulics for’ Modela), the group SiliconVillage inscribes not only the entrepreneur in the center of the ideal African city of tomorrow but is positioned as the main interlocutor in the urgency that is made to all the actors of social and economic life to operate incessantly their Digital Transformation.
Today, WoeLab and the #SiliconVillage business park are themselves at a switch point where the places it requires to arbitrate the three scales of service-ethics of proximity deployed in the HubCité territory, the status of historical actor emerging from the modernization of the country and the symbolic prow point of the new Africa. We believe that the economy is still the key. We are thus undertaking a consolidation project by setting up the envelopes required by a deployment that really makes it possible to take full advantage of the formidable potential of the most promising ideas from which pilots are already projected in its environment.
Urbanattic is one of them. It is not only in the panel of HubCité, the reflection that takes care of the problematic of the food resource in the context of African urbanities inexorably engaged in deep mutations and dynamics. Urbanattic wants to be the best answer that can be carried, through a model venture. He thus anticipates the recent UNCTAD findings that suggest that the only way to “feed the world” is to return to “organic production”, a scale of proximity and not dependent on an “external imput too high “. Urbanattic is the first example of a desire to systematize this system. The recurrence of neglected sites, damaged or abandoned in our large cities offers an unexpected ground for this ambition. The human resource released on the job and put into capacity and all the open technology (like OSM) accumulated at WoeLab will be the mean.
In fact, the weight of food quality and the related pathologies have not been sufficiently measured in the life expectancy of African urban populations. Urbanattic promotes local organic farming for healthy and high-quality food products, the real-time monitoring of the market is made possible by the use of IT, Building on the Smart City project “Lomé HubCité” To build the city of tomorrow around a network of incubators, the initiative is intended as a vast agricultural program whose aim is to transform each “Lab” of the HubCité territory into a (good) (Wild dumps, hollow teeth, floodable lands, non-edificandi zones, etc.). While contributing to remodeling the face of the urban landscape, Urbanattic is mainly a web platform, sort of brain of a mesh of “city granaries” (each backing a collaborative kitchen “FoodLab”) for a production and the development of habits of consumption of organic crops resulting from the valorisation of neglected spaces in the city. You can order your organic basket, “share” offer your land to exploit, offer your availability and work force for the development of vegetable gardens, “share” your recipe, book or subscribe to collaborative cooking or suscribe to the Foodathon of the nearest granary. The single platform coordinates all these activities by providing a reliable database on the eating habits of the population, crop evolution, etc. At the disposal of the public action and any organization such as FAO interested in this Data.
Think at last, when you do not have the green hand, that your garden is taken in hand and maintained by people whose passion it is, that we would make you discover. This model is the one on which we build Urbanattic-France.
Urbanattic recreates social bond around co-constructed green spaces and proposes a shared experience in the re-learning of agricultural techniques through a certain return to the land, sanitation and reappropriation of the living environment.
FoodLabs and Collaborative Kitchens around the world, a growing movement
The initiative is carried out by the community of WoeLab, an incubator created by L’Africaine d’architecture and is part of the Intelligent City project “Lomé HubCité”.
Installed in August 2012, WoeLab is the first free laboratory of social and technological innovation in Togo. This program, which brings together some 20 young people gathered together under the name ‘WoeLab Community’ and constituting the core of the sociology of the place, was set up within the framework of the urban Utopia «Lomé HubCité africaine» developed by the platform L’Africaine d’architecture and its creator Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou. HubCité is an alternative and participatory town planning project that questions the classic regulatory and elitist approaches by proposing a model in which urbanites themselves take charge of the destiny of their neighborhood. This is thanks to the installation in a given area of a network of easily replicable (RepLabs) innovation sites, open to all, promoting the spirit of sharing and incubating a LowHighTech technology that can easily impregnate the most modest population. The small people who, thanks to the frequentation of these places, recovered the springs of collective mobilization, reconquered over time, the capacity to think, to project and to make by themselves the city of tomorrow. WoeLab is the first space configured to test this utopia and therefore the mother-laboratory of the HubCité project. It has become an atypical place, the only one in the country, which makes possible the pooling of resources and the mixing of diverse populations, advocating and adopting uses with a small ecological footprint. Its mission is, among other things, to stimulate, encourage, support and popularize breakthrough technologies. What distinguishes WoeLab from all other innovation laboratories is its social model, which draws its inspiration from traditional African societies and gives pride of place to the spirit of community. WoeLab today is more than thirty residents, with an average age of 19 years including 30 percent of girls. Each is a co-member of the dozen local, collaborative and bootstrapped companies born at WoeLab as part of the #SiliconVillage program.
#Urbanattic is the company of the SilliconVillage Group taking into account, in the exclusively entrepreneurial mode, the question of the food resource in the urban utopia HubCité projected for the districts of the border area Lomé-Ghana. It benefits from the proximity of other tech startups that complement it ideally.
CONTEXT & JUSTIFICATION
Africa accounted for 16% of the world’s population in 2014. It is the continent whose percentage share has increased the most since the beginning of the twentieth century and whose rate of natural increase (2.6%) is higher. The population of Africa rose from 808 million in 2000 or 13.2% to 1.1 billion in 2012, or 16% of the world’s population, and could be 2.4 billion in 2050, or 25.0% of the world’s population. It is more the cities that are affected by this urbanization. The consequence of this phenomenon being mass movements of populations; especially rural exodus.
Indeed, urbanization favors the movements of populations from rural areas to urban areas in search of comfort, work and therefore better living conditions. This phenomenon of rural exodus means, on the one hand, that peasants and farmers leave their land and their cultivation activities for more modest and less dirty work in town (workers, office workers, etc.), which gradually leads to a Devaluation of agricultural work and the loss of self-sufficiency in African countries. With the expanding cities, the arable land are less and less available to feed this population that is constantly growing.
Moreover, the current rate of urbanization of the continent (+ 3.4% per year on average, according to UN-Habitat) is the highest in the world. Still according to these same forecasts, the big cities of Africa should still reach millions of inhabitants and thus figure among the largest on the planet. In 2025, according to UN-Habitat, Lagos (Nigeria) and Kinshasa (DRC) will become the 11th and 12th largest cities in the world. Either better than Beijing (China) or Los Angeles (United States). Kinshasa, especially, is expected to grow by 4 million (an increase of 46%), from 8.7 to 12.7 million between 2010 and 2020.
Regarding Togo, in 2010 Lomé the capital was a city of 837437 inhabitants (according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lom%C3%A9) against 1,723 899 inhabitants (2015) is more 105% in 5 years. This situation leads to overpopulation that is difficult to manage both in terms of food and employment. Cultivable land is becoming less and less available in cities and towns to feed this ever-growing population. The limited space available in cities often becomes dumps. Overcrowding in cities has resulted in a severe drop in food self-sufficiency. Indeed, to meet the demand, cities import more and more commodities most often conserved over long periods thanks to chemical agents. From this overpopulation also comes a problem of insalubrity when these townspeople improvise dumps. An influx of waste into parts of the city leads to questions. Urbanattic carries an original response to all levels of this alarming situation.
Sénamé Koffi Agbodjinou, founder & catalyst of L’ Africaine d’Architecture, CTO of startup Urbanattic