Stadslicht #8: City Trip – Casablanca

In Casablanca is door de Fransen uitgebreid geëxperimenteerd met stedenbouw. In de reeks Stadslicht colleges, georganiseerd in Pakhuis De Zwijger, vertelt Berend van der Lans op 4 juni (18-19hr.) over Marokko’s grootste stad. Voor lokatie en registratie zie de website van Pakhuis De Zwijger.


Casablanca kent in de stadplanning vele scenario’s. Al roerig en enkele keren verwoest onder de vroegere naam Anfa, was het 100 jaar geleden nog een stad van bescheiden omvang. In die honderd jaar heeft de schaalvergroting genadeloos toegeslagen en is de bevolking gegroeid van rond de tienduizend naar vijf en een half miljoen zielen. In de eerste helft van die honderd jaar voerden de Fransen de regie en was de stad toneel van stedenbouwkundige en architectonische experimenten, die later op grote schaal navolging vonden in Europa. Na de onafhankelijkheid kreeg de stedelijke ontwikkeling een eigen en interessante dynamiek, zeker niet altijd gestuurd door de overheid. De ongebreidelde groei die deze jaren kenmerkte, tracht men nu weer te beteugelen. Daar speelt de Tramway, de lokale, zeer populaire ‘Noord Zuid lijn’, een rol in, maar ook het leegstaande Abattoir, dat getransformeerd is tot Fabrique Culturelle. Over het ‘Batwar’ is recent een boek verschenen uit een samenwerking tussen Casablanca en Amsterdam. Berend van der Lans, daarbij betrokken, zal Casablanca’s geschiedenis uit de doeken doen en inzoomen op verrassende ontwikkelingen en het Batwar. 

College Stadslicht #8: City trip - Casablanca // Pakhuis De Zwijger // expo zaal // 4 juni 2014 // 18-19hr. // aanmelden via website PDZ

The Kiran Mukerji Fund extends the AAmatters mediatheque

On 26th April 2014, Kiran Mukerji handed over his research library to African Architecture Matters. It is with great gratitude that we have received the donation, which will be entered into the AAMatters catalogue under the name of ‘Kiran Mukerji Fund’. 

Kiran Mukerji is an eminent researcher and architect, now semi-retired, who has spent most of his career as expert on tropical planning and building issues, with a focus on primary health-care and sustainable design and building techniques. He was involved in the field as researcher, planner and building in many (developing) countries, in particular in India and Albania.

Kiran Mukerji with Belinda van Buiten and Antoni Folkers on  26th April 2014

There are numerous publications from his hand on the above subjects, and it can be stated without exaggeration that he is one of the pioneers in the field of sustainable building techniques – ranging from pre-fabricated

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Netherlandish Architecture as an Export Product

Ter gelegenheid van de uitgave van het boek The Low Countries at the Crossroads, Netherlandish Architecture as an Export Product in Early Modern Europe, samengesteld door Koen Ottenheym en Krista de Jonge, wordt er in Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam een studiedag gehouden over de Europese uitstraling van de architectuur uit de Nederlanden in de zestiende en zeventiende eeuw op 9 mei aanstaande. 

In onze tijd geniet Nederlandse architectuur internationaal veel aanzien. Rem Koolhaas, Ben van Berkel en anderen hebben een sterrenstatus bereikt. Dat bleek niet anders in de 16de en 17de eeuw. 

Ook Antoni Folkers doet in onze tijd een duit in het zakje en zal tijdens de studiedag verhalen over de projecten die hij sinds het midden van de jaren 80 uitvoert in Oost Afrika. 

Lees meer over de door de KNOB georganiseerde studiedag en hoe aan te melden via deze link

Launching Lard Buurman’s Africa Junctions

Over the last 6 years, Dutch photographer Lard Buurman visited 14 cities in 12 countries on the African continent. His careful compositions of the everyday life in the urban context give an interesting insight on how these cities work. 

Between 12 April and 3 May, the exhibition Africa Junctions is presented by Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam and Looiersgracht 60, a new project space for art, design and architecture in Amsterdam. 

On 23 April, his Buurman’s book Africa Junctions, Capturing the City, published by Hatje Cantz Verlag, will be launched in the exhibition. Next to Buurman’s work, the book includes reflections on the work and the cities by N’Goné Fall, Chris Abani, Alexander Opper and Chris Keulemans. 

Introductions by N’Goné Fall and Berend van der Lans lead to a debate with aforementioned and Lard Buurman, moderated by Marcia Luyten (author of Dag Afrika and presenter of the TV programme Buitenhof). 

The event starts at 20:00hrs and can be attended if you register.

Exhibition Africa Junctions - 12 April - 3 May 2014 (Wed-Sun 12:00 - 20:00hrs) - Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam 

Book presentation - 23 April 2014 - 20:00hr - Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam - please register

Brainstorm and recommendations for an African Urban Agenda

In the context of the 4th EU-Africa Summit that took place in Brussels on 2 and 3 April, a group of around 40 leasing specialists and thinkers from international organisations, pan-African organisations, academia, civil society and the private and public sector gathered in the beautiful BOZAR building in the afternoon of 3 April, to discuss what route the EU-Africa collaboration could follow to stimulate inclusive development in the African urban reality. 


After intensive and lively round table sessions in the afternoon, the resulting concrete recommendations were presented to José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. You can reach his reaction here


The round table was Initiated by BOZAR, in collaboration with UN Habitat and EuropeAid. It can be seen as a next step following the ‘Art and Architecture at Work’ project that took place in the previous years in several major cities in Africa.  

ArchiAfrika and AAmatters contributed to the programme by bringing in key nodes of their network. Joe Addo (ArchiAfrika) and Berend van der Lans (AAmatters) were leading round table sessions together with Lesley Lokko and Sylvain Haon. 

A short video can be found at the BOZAR website

Towards a second life of the Abattoirs of Casablanca

On 26 March, the Cities of Casablanca and Amsterdam, together with Casamemoire, presented ‘L’Batwar - Story of a Transformation’ in the former abattoirs in Morocco’s largest city. The book portraits the history of the architecturally fascinating municipal slaughterhouses, situated between the city centre and the neighbourhood Hay Mohammadi. 


Many factory workers and their families were living in this neighbourhood with a strong social cohesion, where political resistance lead to several large protests in the past. After the factory closed its doors in the beginning of the century, the strategic position in the city and its exceptional architectural beauty gave rise to thoughts of converting the complex into a driver for development of the area. Since 2009, a group of around 15 socio-cultural organisations make use of the spaces and developed a programme as ‘Fabrique Culturelle’, involving also many inhabitants and their children. 

It is time to diverge towards a more definite mode of use, allowing the architectural beauty of the abattoirs to shine again. The book gives a

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Hifadhi Zanzibar welcomes Dutch Minister of Trade and Development Liliane Ploumen

Hifadhi team member Hassan Ali Juma and Director of the Department of Urban and Rural Planning Muhammad Juma are accompanying Dutch Minister of Trade and Development Liliane Ploumen in Stone Town (photo Daniel Hayduk)

Heritage constitutes an important source of identity and cohesion for communities. Well maintained heritage offers a physical testimony of its past, but it also serves as a precious resource for social and economic development. This is what the founders – representatives of a couple of large companies - of Stadsherstel Amsterdam NV had in mind, when establishing the Limited Liability Company in 1956. Stadsherstel had an important role in maintaining the historic character of Amsterdam over the years. This example will now be followed by Hifadhi Zanzibar (Preserve Zanzibar), a Limited Liability Company that will soon be established to acquire, restore, rent out and maintain historically valuable buildings in Stone Town and other urban areas in Zanzibar. The shareholders, a majority being local investors, will receive a moderate dividend, so the remainder of the profit can be re-invested.  Hifadhi Zanzibar will be instrumental in keeping Stone Town and other parts of Zanzibar vital, ultimately developing it into a healthy social and economic urban environment. Representatives from the local private and public sector

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Ng’ambo: Tuittakayo! Tarehe 8 & 9 Februari in Zanzibar


Ng’ambo: this is what we want! On 8 and 9 February, the TOS research team is organising an event in the Kisiwandui and Kisimamajongoo neighbourhoods in Ng’ambo, to conclude the process of research on assets and values of the area, taking place in the recent months. Th inhabitants of the area are consulted on their visions for the future of the this part of the buffer zone of the ‘Stone Town of Zanzibar’ World Heritage Site. The outcomes will form the basis of a number of tools for a heritage-based regeneration proposal. 

You can follow the event via An expert workshop and stakeholders conference later in the week will take stock of the results reached and the steps forward will be discussed. 

Together with the Department of Urban and Rural Planning of the Government of Zanzibar, UNESCO, City of Amsterdam and Stadsherstel Amsterdam NV, AAmatters has been involved from the conception. 


imageThe UNESCO Recommendation on Historic Urban Landscapes, adopted in 2011, proposes a comprehensive approach to urban regeneration, which addresses the need to better integrate and frame

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Critical reflections on urban tendencies in South Africa and the curriculum in Delft

Around the Nike Football Centre in Soweto, Johannesburg (photo Iain Low, 2012)

In September 2012, the book 'African Perspectives - [South] Africa. City, Society, Space, Literature and Architecture', edited by Gerhard Bruyns and Prof. Arie Graafland, was launched at the AZA conference in Cape Town. The book is a reflection of the presentations and debates that took place in the Urban Development programme of the African Perspectives manifestation that took place in Delft in December 2007. 

Berend van der Lans met Bruyns in the course of 2013 to discuss the contents, the reactions on the book and the results of African Perspectives 2007 for the Faculty of Architecture of the Delft University of Technology. The interview is published in the December 2013 issue of ‘Maandblad Zuid-Afrika' and can be read in Dutch here

Screening Urban Transformations in Africa with AFFR and AITP

AFFR Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam,
Africa in the Picture and African Architecture Matters


Urban Transformations in Africa

Sunday 13 October 15h00: 

Urban Transformations in Africa:
Africa Shafted – Ingrid Martens, South Africa, 2011
Jonah – Kibwe Tavares, UK / Tanzania, 2013
discussion with Ingrid Martens, Kibwe Tavares, Lesley Lokko and Berend van der Lans.

Sunday 13 October 17h00:
Jerusalema – Ralph Ziman, South Africa, 2010

(Screenshot Africa Shafted)

On Thursday 10 October, the 7th edition of the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam will take off in film theatre LantarenVenster in Rotterdam. On Sunday 13 October, AFFR is programming, together with the Amsterdam based Africa in the Picture film festival and African Architecture Matters, a series of films about current developments in African cities: Urban Transformations in Africa.

Africa Shafted is a revealing portrait of the inhabitants of Ponte Tower, the tallest building in the notorious district Hillbrow, Johannesburg. While standing in the elevator, they talk openly about their lives as African immigrants in South Africa. Jonah is an amazing animation film in which two youngsters in Zanzibar inadvertently photograph a gigantic fish, turning their town into a big tourist attraction. Jerusalema is a spectacular film based on the true life story of Lucky Kunene, who took over all the real estate in Hillbrow, Johannesburg in the nineties.

(Screenshot Jonah)

Directors Ingrid Martens and Kibwe Tavares will attend the screening. With the Ghaniain-English writer and architect Lesley Lokko and Berend van der Lans, co-founder of African Architecture Matters and AITP board member, they will discuss the consequences of migration, informal economy and self-regulation for the African city and the way in which film throws light on these themes.

program Urban Transformations in Africa AFFR2013

Films and discussion in English; please buy your tickets online at