Proposed Crafts Village, Accra

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Culture is defined broadly as a form or type of civilization of a certain race or nation and the customs associated with it. In the broad sense, Ghanaian culture embraces every aspect of the life of a Ghanaian. It includes social values, social institutions, music, drama, dancing, art and craft to mention a few. In Ghana, culture though diverse identifies the nation through the production of textiles like kente, the carving of drums and masks, stools, etc. Uniqueness and originality of the styles are characterised by these products. The craft of Ghana have an advantage over other aspects of the cultural activities. They are mostly used as souvenirs and gifts on occasions like birthdays, farewells etc. The traditional way of producing the artifacts has also been maintained over the years thereby, keeping the Ghanaian culture intact. The Akuaba (fertility doll) is a special, artifact endowed with the spirit and life force of the Ashantis. Various institutions have been set up by the Government to regulate and enhance the Ghanaian cultural activities at the National Regional and District levels. These include the National Commission on Culture, the Centres for National Culture at the Regional levels and the District Centres. Art and craft as a cultural expression is gaining prominence as an important commercial activity in the country. Craft centres at Aburi, Kumasi Ahwhiaa, Bonwire, Titso and the Centre for National Culture, Accra are a few examples of important tourist destinations in Ghana. The craft market at the Centre for National Culture, Accra receives an average of 4,000 visitors a day. However, the craft market in the national capital, a gateway to the nation is faced with various problems including disorganised land management, unsightly structures, misuse of scarce prime C.B.D. land, unsightly environment and lack of important supporting facilities like toilets, urinals, restaurants to support the centre. This study tries to identify the potential and problems facing the craft market in the Centre for National Culture in Accra, with the view of providing an improved environment for beneficiaries, artisans and customers. 1.1 SUBJECT OF PROJECT A village is a collection of dwelling houses and other buildings larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town or having a simpler organisation and administration than the later. A is a job or trade needing skill especially with ones hands, according to the dictionary. By connotation, the proposed crafts village is meant to revive activities which provide a feel of the dynamic Ghanaian culture. This is to be conveyed in the various categories of the arts, and most especially the magnificent handicrafts and other traditional services of Ghanaian houses. A dramatic setting for traditional and modern performances would be unveiled in this facility. The environment to be created would be for craft making, in addition to a shopping expedition and all incorporated into a village. In achieving this idea, the handiwork of the skillful craftsmen of the country would be experienced in the form of souvenirs which comes in various attractive shapes, sizes and styles. 1.2 THE SCOPE OF THE STUDY The study provides a broad land use plan for the area, zoned for cultural activities and a detailed action plan for the proposed Crafts Village. 1.3 APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY 1.3.1 DATA COLLECTION The study was approached by collecting data from key beneficiaries and other relevant offices in Accra, Cape-Coast and Kumasi. The data collected include secondary and primary data. The method of secondary data collection includes site plans and land use proposals prepared for the beach front. 1.3.2 FIELD DATA/PRIMARY DATA COLLECTION The ground study included. a. Interview of retailers and artisans as well as officials of the Centre for National Culture in Accra. b. The site investigation covered land uses, land values, availability of services like water, electricity, telephone, drainage, site access, appropriate sizes of areas and type of functional spaces for the key players. A copy of the questionnaire is presented as on annex A
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture, 1998