Issa Diabaté on designing the future of urban Africa (trailer)

This Ivorian architect believes that independence, innovation, volunteer work and personal investment must characterise African architecture of tomorrow.

From the Series

“For us, design generates the appropriate solution to the problems of urban planning we have in the Ivory Coast,” says architect Issa Diabaté. At Design Indaba Conference 2014, Diabaté shared his experience of being an architect in West Africa: highlighting the problems facing the area as well as the necessary solutions for 21st century urban planning. 

After completing a Masters in Architecture at Yale University in the United States, Diabaté decided to return to the Ivory Coast and his hometown Abidjan, where he co-founded Koffi & Diabaté Architects with Guillaume Koffi. The practice dedicates itself to finding solutions to the issues of rapid population growth and its effect on urban planning. 

For Diabaté, the architectural issue facing the Ivory Coast is the lack of vision for urban planning. “The consequence of this is the inability to control and monitor urban spaces,” he explains. The population of Abidjan has grown from 1.2 million in 1979 to 6.5 million in 2014. For Diabaté, this stat is problematic as the country still lives on 1970s urban planning,  placing pressure on the city and its inhabitants. 

Working alongside the Ivory Coast government, Koffi & Diabaté’s project Acoco seeks to rehabilitate the lagoon bay in Abidjan. Over the last 10 years, the area has experienced a significant deterioration due to landfills and sewage as the city’s population has grown. The project will realise a new draining system and create a boardwalk around the lagoon bay to reconnect the city’s dwellers with waterfronts.

This year for the first time, the Design Indaba Conference talks make their premiere on our app, conveniently packaged in one place and available for free download. To watch Issa Diabaté's full conference talk download the app here or keep watching for updates.

Watch the Talk with Issa Diabaté

More on African Design