Our Theory of Change roadmap
What is AMP?
Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP) is a transnational youth-driven project to promote maker ecosystems in Africa, starting at Agbogbloshie. Our agenda is collective action: join hands to prototype tools and co-create a hybrid digital-physical platform for recycling, making, sharing and trading. We maintain that to realize an innovative future for Africa, we must start from the ground up: mining what already works for models and methods, and deploying co-design within existing communities of makers, across class, religious and tribal strata. Currently we are building a spacecraft at Agbogbloshie and digital network that links recycling with digital fabrication and distributed manufacturing (see “Spacecraft”).
The Agbogbloshie scrapyard—located behind the Agbogbloshie Market, Onion Market and Yam Market on Abose-Okai Road in Accra—hosts dismantling, sorting and processing activities across a range of scrap types, from aeronautical, automotive, electronic (e-scrap), domestic and household waste to glass, metal, and plastics. An estimated 6-10,000 persons working in the scrap trade, some part-time or seasonally, dismantle and/or process a vast spectrum of items each year—from batteries, fans, irons, toasters, microwaves, washing machines, fridges, televisions, desktop computers, laptops and mobile phones to bicycles, cars, trucks, trailers, heavy machines, aircraft and mining equipment, transformers, telecommunications masts and network routers—forwarding scrap onward to steelworks, copper refineries and specialized recycling industries.
Whereas others reductively denigrate Agbogbloshie as a toxic e-waste dump, we see instead an urban-scale open-air manufactory—an action-oriented maker ecosystem where materials and components reclaimed from end-of-life equipment feature as inputs for making new products (see “Made in Agbogbloshie”). The environmental challenges are huge, but Agbogbloshie is an amazing model—a distributed network of makers recycling the city at the grassroots. AMP aims to learn from Agbogbloshie, in order to amplify its potential as a model of micro-industrial ecosystems for broader application.
Who is behind the AMP project?
DK OSSEO-ASARE : co-lead : is Principal and Co-Founder of Low Design Office (LOWDO), an architecture studio based in Austin, Texas and Tema, Ghana.He is a Fulbright Scholar, TED Global Fellow and Design Lecturer in Engineering at Ashesi University, where he helps run the Design Lab as Chief Maker. DK received an A.B. in Engineering Design and an M.Arch. from Harvard University for work in kinetic systems and network power. His research spans design innovation, open-source urbanism, digital fabrication and architecture robots. He led urban design for Anam City and Koumbi City new town projects in Nigeria and Ghana.
Dr. YASMINE ABBAS : co-lead : is a French certified architect, Chair of Design Management at Paris College of Art, who works internationally across the fields of art and architecture, business ethnography and sustainability. Dr. Abbas holds a Master of Science in Architecture Studies from MIT (SMArchS 2001) and a Doctor of Design from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University (DDes 2006). She is founding director of Panurban Intelligence, a global strategic design consultancy that leverages design to generate business intelligence and drive urban innovation, and is the author of Le néo-nomadisme: Mobilités. Partage. Transformations identitaires et urbaines (FYP, 2011) and other texts on mobility, digital culture and spaces. Her design research includes projects for companies like Orange, Steelcase, and as Environmental Sociologist for Masdar City.