Tag Archives: Least-developed nation

Questions you should ask when planning your next Smart City event in Africa

by Andy Kozlov, consultant on smart cities in Africa

The better the question the more adequate solutions your African Smart City events will offer at the end of the day.

For each topic, I suggest you ask yourselves lots of questions. And then try hard to answer them. Or try to have your potential speakers answer them during the event.

Each time you speak to your key partners, encourage them to suggest those crucial questions that everyone wants to hear answers to when they think about a smart African city.

At the latest National Urban Forum in Antananarivo, Madagascar as he was shown how Tokyo’s city planners use 3D modelling to revive dying city centres and how Morocco tracks the progress of their Villes sans Bidonvilles programme with the help of satellite imaging, one Malagasy mayor wondered, “How do you count the number of toilets in France?” “My city does not have a road and can’t be accessed by cars. How should we create infrastructure here?”, inquired another colleague of his.

Here I suggest some more questions:

ENERGY

How chronic are electricity shortages in Kinshasa? Available solutions deployed to tackle this issue?

How under-resourced are state-owned energy utilities in Namibia? Available solutions deployed to tackle this issue?

What is the % of privately-owned energy utilities across Madagascar?

What is to be prioritized: deployment of tech available incountry (including via Ethiopian offices of multinationals) or import of tech, Or R&D?

What are the top 10 most urgent laws/directives that need to be passed?

 

MOBILITY

How many hours per year do Harare commuters lose to traffic congestion? Available solutions deployed to tackle this issue? E.g. in Lagos commuters collectively lost three billion hours per year to traffic congestion from 2007 to 2009.

What does Mombasa need to do to develop bus-oriented transport infrastructure with dedicated lanes? Available solutions deployed to tackle this issue?

What is the % of environmentally friendly mass-transit vehicles in Maputo?

What is to be prioritized: deployment of tech available incountry (including via Ivorian offices of multinationals) or import of tech, Or R&D?

What are the top 10 most urgent laws/directives that need to be passed?

 

CONSTRUCTION

How huge is the backlog in the collection of solid waste in Abidjan, by commune? Available solutions deployed to tackle this issue?

How much urban environment do we expect to be built in Durban in the next 10 years, by area, by cement amounts, by solar panel on rooftops?

How defined are boundaries in Bujumbura?

What is the state of municipal asset inventories, land-tenure systems?

What is to be prioritized: deployment of tech available incountry (including via South Sudanese offices of multinationals) or import of tech, Or R&D?

What are the top 10 most urgent laws/directives that need to be passed?

 

CITIZENS EMPOWERED

What type of jobs do we need to create for local unemployed people to fill in?

How independent are local authorities in Mauritius from national government (including in subsidy terms)?

What is to be prioritized: deployment of tech available incountry (including via Tunisian offices of multinationals) or import of tech, Or R&D?

What are the top 10 most urgent laws/directives that need to be passed?

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Global Trade Injustice: What U.S. Hush Money Taken by Brazil Means for Africa’s ‘Cotton Four’ and the Rest of Us

World Trade Injustice (October 2014)
World Trade Injustice (October 2014)

Alan Beattie’s “America’s craven capitulation in the WTO” can be read here.

“Chicken dumping duties slapped on 3 EU nations” by Tshepiso Mokhema is available here.

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Movie parlors to come and go: dress as on-screen characters in Chuvashia, don-t text in Ukraine-s only spherical cinema and enjoy the wind in Kabul-s Smell-o-Vision

What is it about movie parlors that makes us turn nostalgic?

Would you cry over a movie house that kicks out patrons for texting during a show? And if I told you that this is a parlor where viewers eat only when the on-screen characters do and everyone is to dress as a particular character, and.. “cold beers are brought to your seat by black-clad waitstaff?”

Should the world’s oldest operating outdoor picture garden in Australia be preserved almost unchanged — with loos marked “Humphrey’s” and “Vivien’s” “as a nod to early Hollywood stars” — or should it be fitted with repurposed car seats à la gastropub theater in Brooklyn’s waterfront DUMBO district? For all our non-NYC cinemagoers: DUMBO stands for ‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.’

In this Calvert Journal pieceSergey Novikov — Cheboksary, Chuvash Republic-born photographer who self-published FC Volga United, a photobook about football fans who live along Europe’s longest and largest river in terms of discharge and watershed, the Volga — sings on ode to Russia’s dying movie houses:

With more and more cinemas in Russia losing out to multiplexes — sometimes abandoned, sometimes used for discos and fairs or taken over by Jehovah’s Witnesses

Here is where Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson laments that Afghanistan’s once thriving cinema industry has not returned after 2011 ousting of the Taliban:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECWJxmNwDEM]

While in this 2012 article for Asahi Shimbun, one of the five national newspapers in Japan, Kazuhisa Kurokawa announces the coming down of the curtain on a part of the cinema landscape of Tokyo “that first enraptured Japanese audiences just over a century ago.”

On Oct. 21, the lights went down in the last remaining three movie houses in Asakusa, a historic district just off the Sumida River where the nation’s first movie theater opened in 1903. The structures escaped the devastation of the Great Tokyo Air Raid of 1945 by U.S. bombers but were too old to be retrofitted to withstand a major earthquake. The theaters were operated by Chuei Co., a subsidiary of Shochiku Co.

Shochiku Co. produced films by Yasujirō Ozu, Takeshi Kitano, Akira Kurosawa and Taiwanese New Wave director Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

SHOCHIKU Co., Ltd logo
SHOCHIKU Co., Ltd logo

While the final screenings in Asakusa included Amazing Spiderman and Men in Black III, Ukraine’s budding film-maker Masksym Madonov deemed it right to bring an abandoned 1990-built cinema in his hometown of Radekhiv, Lviv Oblast back to life and make a documentary about the rare four screenings.

And as we decry the vanishing cinemas with history, we embrace all kinds of technology-packed movie houses. Here Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman takes us on a tour of a South Korea-stemming 4DX test cinema.. with Smell-o-Vision in Hollywood, California. Full package there: moving chairs, scent, smoke, and wind.

Purpotedly the only spherical cinema in Ukraine operates under the name Atmasfera. The action takes place inside the Soviet-built Kyiv planetarium, on its dome screen.

Throughout its 90-year history, the largest cinema in northern Europe, Oslo’s Kino, “has kept up with technological advances, from pioneering Cinemascope in the 1950s to the late-1990s THX-aimed overhaul.”

Chicago’s Uptown Theater is not that up-to-date.  Once one of the largest in America, the Uptown “still stands at Broadway and Lawrence, its decaying interior like a mausoleum,” as late film criticism celebrity Roger Ebert put it.

This view of the Uptown Theatre’s auditorium mezzanine or loge seating area comes from Eric Holubow, photographer behind a cofee table book called Abandoned – America’s Vanishing Landscape.

chi

Note the three colors of cove lighting and careful decoration of the plaster underneath the balcony and surrounding ventilation grilles. These atmospheric effects make one forget one’s troubles and that one is sitting under an immense balcony. The Uptown’s cove lighting system is controlled from a master lighting control panel on the stage. The lights were intended to help encapsulate the audience through the subtle use of changing colors. They could be preset and adjusted to fit the mood of what was being seen on the screen, watched in a live stageshow or heard from the organ and orchestra.

An abandoned movie palace hidden in the back of a Brooklyn furniture showroom... Source: AbandonedNYC
An abandoned movie palace hidden in the back of a Brooklyn furniture showroom… Source: AbandonedNYC

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by Andy Kozlov

Kyivite Irina Vakulka (left) entrusts her iron buddy to the Veloferma wizzards
Kyivite Irina Vakulka (left) entrusts her iron buddy to the Veloferma wizzards

“What happens to your body when you pedal?” Reads a recent post on the Facebook page of Veloferma, a bike farm, set up last month on Kreshchatyk, Ukraine’s major street. This is where the Ukrainians were demonstrating during the Euromaidan, a popular movement that had Viktor Yanukovych flee his presidential post and plunge the country into a crisis that many hope will result in Ukraine’s modernization.

What’s a bike farm, exactly? It’s an all-volunteer-run collective dedicated to every aspect of bicycle education, from safe commuting to repair. That was a quote from a similar project in the U.S., a country that seems to be a leader in such community-centred enterprises.

An African art buff in-making checks out the crowd at the launch of The Pulse of Africa/Пульс Африки  exhibition in Pavlo Gudimov's Ya Gallery art center in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.
An African art buff in-making checks out the crowd at the launch of The Pulse of Africa/Пульс Африки exhibition in Pavlo Gudimov’s Ya Gallery art center in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine.

 

At this time, in Dnipropetrovsk, some 500 km southeast of Ukraine’s capital, The Pulse of Africa/Пульс Африки exhibition opened to the public at the Ya Gallery art center. Initiated by Ukrainian curator and fluent French-speaker, Pavlo Gudimov, this creative space is a branch of the eponymous gallery in Kyiv.

Pavlo Gudimov: “Nothing could be more distant from us than Africa, and nothing could be as close as it is.”

Indeed one could note that Luganda and Donbabwe — a prejudice-filled play on two African nations: Uganda and Zimbabwe — the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics are a sad Ukrainian reality these days. And the Donetsk-based cultural platform Izolyatsiya knows this situation very well.

As Borys Filonenko observes in a copy about the exhibition:

Andriy Khir‘s new works from unfinished series “Demonology” and eponymous to the entire exhibition work by Oleksandr Korol are reminiscent of spirits. Both Khir and Korol open a secret drawer, full of residents from the other world, monolithic half-humans half-animals that are equal to animal-people that inhabit folk worldview. The former does this through Hutsul narratives, creating a system of wills, ceremonial arches, prohibitions and beliefs. The latter shows us the results from the heart of Africa itself: flaming boars, anthropomorphic animals, torn (by a beast or by artistic representation) individuals who at their last breath urge viewers to “Not for the World” go to Africa.

..the essential fact of art history is a path in a diametrically opposite direction – where Africa comes to us. And if in Europe, there is a certain opportunity to enter these “dialogues” of the cultures of visuality, then Pulse of Africa becomes the first attempt at reflecting on this “invasion” in Ukraine.

Back to the Veloferma Facebook set of bike-riding recommendations, should you want to pedal to The Pulse of Africa exhibit.

Simply Veloferma of Kyiv
Simply Veloferma of Kyiv

“Every five minutes, do not forget to detach your behind from the saddle and bike for a while in an upright position.” The excercise is said to be good for your pelvis, buddy!

You can reach the author of this piece on a.kozlov@steppesinsync.com

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