07.02.2017 | 19:00

DK Osseo-Asare: In/formal Kiosk Culture

We hereby invite you to the inaugural lecture series “Infrastructures from Above and Below”, organized by Urban Studies at the University of Basel. The lecture series will kick off with:

DK Osseo-Asare, Architect, Accra, Ghana: “In/formal Kiosk Culture”

Contemporary discourse of architecture and urbanism increasingly casts as convention the idea that “informal” processes regulate the African city—in contradistinction to normative “formal” modes of city planning and administration formulated outside the continent. But informal does not mean mysterious, chaotic or disorganized. Classification of African urban spatial practices as “informal” reveals the misalignment between how African cities are formally designed to operate and how their users prefer to operate within, on, through and across them.

If formal suggests a simultaneity of being proper (as per standard rules and regulation) and being spatialized (defined in physical space), informal offers conceptually and in opposition more utility as representing a counter-mode not of being improper (i.e. failing to follow standard modes of operation) but rather of shaping space and the social life of the city via aspatial or socially-embedded mechanisms of control. DK’s design work serves as research to probe this social interface of in/formal: Instead of top-down strategies of formal imposition, leverage bottom-up tactics that can go viral—collectively enabling citizens of the city to define its operating system in their own image.

DK Osseo-Asare is a principal of Low Design Office and lecturer in design at Ashesi University. DK is a Fulbright Scholar, TED Global Fellow and received A.B. in Engineering Design and M.Arch. degrees from Harvard University. His research spans design innovation, open-source urbanism, digital fabrication and architecture robots. DK led urban design for Koumbi City and Anam City new town projects in Ghana and Nigeria. He is also cofounder of the Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform, an open architecture for makers, which is Africa 4 Tech Digital Champion for Education and received the 2017 SEED award for public interest design in architecture.

Date: Tuesday, February 7, 2017,

Time: 19:00

Venue: Kollegienhaus, Regenzzimmer 111, Petersplatz 1

Futher information: flyer (pdf)


University of Basel
Centre for African Studies
Rheinsprung 21
CH-4051 Basel
Tel.: +41 (0)61 207 34 82