Profiles in Regeneration: Dominique, 26, Ghana
We want our cities and spaces to reflect a new type of urban interface that is considerate of not only the needs of our generation but the next generations to come.
The founder of Limbo Accra, Dominique Petit-Frere is working to create a new urban interface in Accra, Ghana, and other West African cities. As modernization expands and high rises go up, she is looking to model the future around principles of sustainability — making sure whatever she builds works for not only her generation, but for the future ones as well.
Regenerative Futures: How are you feeling right now?
Dominique Petit-Frere: I am feeling very hopeful, inspired, and fuelled with power!
RF: What’s a secret your search history can tell us about you?
DPF: Worldly, spiritual and expansive.
RF: What are you reading/learning about at the moment?
DPF: Urban Acupuncture and Ephemeral Architecture.
RF: Who is your favorite human and why?
DPF: As cheesy as this sounds, my mother and father. I love them dearly and I think they are some of the coolest people on earth!
RF: Which key moment inspired you to start your project?
DPF: Witnessing the high rates of modernization in Accra, Ghana led to the creation of Limbo Accra. For the past decade, luxury shopping malls and concrete apartment blocks have replaced older, more traditional neighborhoods. The metropolis’ changing identity and influx of new developments is leaving urban spaces caught in a state of limbo — awaiting modern futures while fossilized with the fragments of the past. By witnessing this level of disruption, I felt compelled to proactively bring together creatives and cultural producers to reimagine one of the many incomplete luxury private residences as a temporary cultural center for intervention. The main aim was for us to look at ourselves in the mirror and see what is happening right now in our present time and process it from our own perspective. Utilizing the space was a way to explore and examine our relationship to our land, the foreign investors, and our spaces/ideas. ⠀
RF: In two years’ time, what would success with your project look like?
DPF: We are working towards having front-of-mind awareness for any West African architecture and spatial design project that includes sustainability as an objective. We wish to collaborate with West African space-makers and build youth-led architectural design projects in Accra and in our neighboring cities such as Dakar, Praia, Abidjan, etc. We want our cities and spaces to reflect a new type of urban interface that is considerate of not only the needs of our generation but the next generations to come.
RF: If you could focus a large percentage of government funding on one industry or project for the next five to ten years, which you choose and why?
DPF: The physical and built landscape of our society is one of the key bases for human life. For many West African cities that are just now experiencing the age of modernization, I believe that the construction industry is a great place to invest large scales of government funding. The infrastructure should be built to accommodate growing populations, provide water, and energy efficiency improvements. There should be spaces to develop innovative businesses and entrepreneurial activity in the digital arena, while also providing healthcare at a greater standard of living for everyone.
RF: What is the best and worst thing about the education system in your country?
DPF: The best thing about the educational system is that there’s always an opportunity for one to explore alternative subjects and modules to what has been pre-assigned. The worst thing about the educational system is the lack of agency students have to critically analyze the discourse that is being taught.
RF: Do you have a message for anyone your age living in the year 2060?
DPF: Keep inventing! Be true to who you are and your vision of the world.
RF: What inspires or frightens you most about the future?
DPF: The uncertainty of the future inspires me to my core. The future is unwritten and knowing this gives me a sense of power. However, the colonial legacy of the Western powers and its violent political dynamics towards the world scares me. I feel like it's very unpredictable in this age and there are things happening behind the scene that we are totally unaware of.
RF: Regeneration is…
DPF: Power. It takes every opportunity to improve and enhance the restorative relationship between now and the future.
To learn more about Regenerative List finalist, Dominique Petit-Frere, click here.