Skip to main content
main-content
Top

About this book

This open access book explores key issues and presents recent case studies in areas of importance for the transition to a circular model of development in emerging African countries that will minimize resource consumption and waste production. The topics covered include the development of sustainable housing models, energy and environmental issues in building design and technical systems, recycling for a sustainable future, models for humanitarian emergencies, and low-cost and web-based digital tools with applications in architecture and archaeology.
The aim is to contribute to a necessary paradigm shift with respect to urban planning and usage of territories, moving from a linear urban metabolism based on the “take, make, dispose” approach to a circular metabolism. Such a change requires a focus on the relationship between the architectural, urban, and physical aspects of new developments, climate, and energy demand, as well as the identification and integration of strategies and infrastructures to achieve a high level of efficiency and self-sufficiency. The book will appeal to all with an interest in sustainable development in the African context.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Housing Models

Frontmatter

Open Access

BECOMe—Business ECOsystem Design for Sustainable Settlements in Mogadishu

Abstract
The paper introduces the “BECOMe” project, winner of the PoliSocial Award 2018. BECOMe deals with sustainable affordable housing in developing countries. In particular, the research aims to deliver an integrated development plan for a new business ecosystem design model oriented to new sustainable settlements in Mogadishu (Somalia), involving local entrepreneurship, social facilities and renewable energies. Indeed, the topic of sustainable affordable housing in developing countries is gaining increasing importance for Somali and international stakeholders. Nowadays, the major gap in the provision of adequate and affordable housing is to build a social community and to go beyond just providing basic shelters, to create sustainable durable settlements. The fragile and uncertain nature of the social, political and economic context, characterized by the lack of common shared legislative references and business strategies within the housing sector, makes Mogadishu a complex and challenging reality to be explored and improved.
Oscar E. Bellini, Andrea Campioli, Claudio Del Pero, Cinzia Talamo, Nazly Atta, Anna Dalla Valle

Open Access

New Foundation Cities

Abstract
As part of the Italian tradition related to urban projects, some experiments throughout the twentieth century have shown, in the comparison between the different possibilities, the specific ability of architecture to lend concrete form to the living environment of a civilisation in a specific age. The design of the city, of its way of expanding, has outlined, in the succession of examples built or even only conceived on paper, the possible prerequisites for the definition of some principles aimed at the determination of sections of the city, or in the most virtuous examples of new foundation cities. Every latitude, just as every epoch, enjoins in this sense the need to re-examine these principles, which, if on the one hand express universal and timeless values, on the other hand, search for increasingly greater relevance to specific cultures as well as to needs and demands associated with one’s own time. Africa’s living future rests on a recent past already quite rich in experiments, on a founding custom that in the previous century has built new urban centres, capital cities, transfers of centrality to regular federations of states. Living in Africa, besides contemporaneity, represents from this point of view the most extreme modernity; living consistently with the culture, history and traditions of a country that has forever portrayed in Western imagination no more than the mystery and exotic dream of a continent that is still unknown if not actually stigmatised in its most conventional characters.
Massimo Ferrari, Claudia Tinazzi, Annalucia D’Erchia

Open Access

Development of Social Welfare Architectures in Marginal Areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Case Study of the Gamba Deve—Licoma Axis in Mozambique

Abstract
The research concerns a strategic project designed to implement a service supplying system to rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa through testing of cultural and social welfare architectures that meet the principles of local building and representation principles and the versatility and contextual characteristic of the site. The study analyses a possible approach that may be generalised for use in other contexts featuring high social marginalisation, focusing on rural areas crossed by the street axis Gamba Deve–Licoma in Mozambique.
Domenico Chizzoniti, Monica Moscatelli, Letizia Cattani

Energy and Built Environment

Frontmatter

Open Access

Sustainable Building Design for Tropical Climates

Abstract
The “Handbook-Sustainable Building Design for Tropical Climates” considers the impact of the construction sector on climate change, estimating that the building stock that will be built in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2050 will be three times greater than the current overall building stock of Europe. The purpose of the handbook is to offer an easy-to-use tool that provides general guidelines and basic information on the physics of buildings, together with all of the practical tools necessary for designing a sustainable-energy building in a tropical climate. The contents of the handbook were tested and evaluated by means of a series of lectures and training sessions—during the training courses on “Sustainable Integrated Design” held in different East African countries. These courses were attended by professionals (including engineers and architects), entrepreneurs, university teachers and postgraduate students. Further, based on the handbook, two “Massive Online Open Courses” (MOOCs) have been developed for the dissemination of the knowledge among various stakeholders.
Niccolò Aste, Federico M. Butera, Rajendra Singh Adhikari, Fabrizio Leonforte

Open Access

Development of an Interactive Building Energy Design Software Tool

Abstract
Energy efficiency is one of the most important topics worldwide, nevertheless, each region has its own specifics, which have to be considered. This is especially important for online tools that deliver comprehensive information on energy efficiency and renewable energy for average consumer as well as for municipalities and governments. These tools are essential for energy retrofit of existing building for energy saving as well as designing of new energy-efficient buildings and also for designing and sizing renewable energy technologies such as solar home system. A dynamic interactive building energy design software tool has been developed especially tailored taking care about main features required for Sub-Saharan African context, under a joint agreement (research project) between Politecnico di Milano and UN-Habitat. In this chapter, the results of testing of the software tool for building geometry have been presented.
Niccolò Aste, Rajendra Singh Adhikari, Claudio Del Pero, Fabrizio Leonforte

Open Access

SPARK—Solar Photovoltaic Adaptable Refrigeration Kit

Abstract
In developing countries, especially in particularly critical areas such as tropical Africa, the state of health of the population is strongly influenced by infectious risk factors. High temperatures and humidity levels, in fact, contribute to the formation and proliferation of viruses and bacteria capable of spreading rapidly. For these reasons, the need to find low-cost and context-adaptable strategies capable of ensuring the correct preservation of food and medicine in areas where the electricity supply is not reliable is a priority for improving health and social conditions in developing countries. In such a context, the aim of this study was to develop a modular kit designed for the self-construction of a refrigeration system which is economically competitive with other products already developed for the same purpose. The refrigeration system is powered by solar photovoltaic energy and can be easily assembled in the required location of application, with particular reference to the context represented by Africa’s tropical belt. The kit was designed and tested at the Politecnico di Milano University and the final prototype version was built in Cameroon.
Claudio Del Pero, Maddalena Buffoli, Luigi Piegari, Marta Dell’Ovo, Maria P. Vettori

Recycling

Frontmatter

Open Access

Ski Yurt: Upcycle of Downhill Skis for a Shelter in Cacine—Guinea-Bissau

Abstract
Downhill skis are composite materials with very high performances. Very often after few years of use, they are changed due to new fashions or ski techniques. This means a lot of waste which still has the potential for very high structural performances. Thus, the idea to upcycle these materials thanks to a cooperation with the University of Grenoble in the joint activities of their laboratory and Velux Lab. Several tests and dome structures were realized in order to show the potential of these materials. Then a yurt was designed, tested, and pre-built at the Politecnico di Milano before shipping it to Africa, through the equatorial forest in Guinea-Bissau, as a first shelter-base camp in a desolated land where a mission was later founded. The purpose is also to make a structure with very high performances and that is resistant to the aggression of termites (only hard wood is suitable there but it requires deforestation) without using steel since it is too expensive. So the final goal is not to send waste to Africa but to show how waste can also become a very solid structure and a valued asset.
Graziano Salvalai, Marco Imperadori, Marta M. Sesana, Gianluca Crippa

Open Access

Comprehensive Feasibility Study for the Construction of an Integrated Sustainable Waste Management Facility in Kajiado County, Kenya

Abstract
The work focuses on the feasibility study relating to the design of a new integrated sustainable waste management facility in Ngong town (Kenya), within the Kajiado County; the County borders Nairobi and extends to the Tanzanian border further south. Currently, the waste generated in Ngong town is sent to an illegal dumping site, which must be closed as soon as possible since it is causing serious environmental and social impacts. Specifically, the purpose of the study was to carefully analyze the context, taking into consideration environmental, economic and social aspects, providing technical–economic solutions which must be robust, easy to build, operate and maintain, be cost-effective and self-sustaining from an economic standpoint, and be environmentally and socially sustainable. This chapter focuses on the assessment carried out in view of designing a new integrated sustainable waste management facility. An estimation of the mass and energy balance and of the system design and sizing is also provided, together with an assessment of the overall economic sustainability of the proposed intervention.
Claudio Del Pero, Niccolò Aste, Paola Caputo, Francesca Villa, Mario Grosso

Environment and Emergency

Frontmatter

Open Access

Borboleta and Papagaio: Emergency Unit and Children’s Nutritional Center in Farim—Guinea-Bissau

Abstract
Farim is a city on a deep fjord of the Atlantic Ocean in Guinea-Bissau. The Mission of Padri Oblati di Maria has operated there for many years and the research team has realized two units in recent years: Borboleta, which is an emergency unit for children but also for all those in need, and Papagaio, which is a nutritional center for young children. Due to the salt of the fjord (which also creates an economy), the atmosphere of the environment is typically saline so steel structures have been protected with special nanotechnologies (thanks to Triplex tech by NordZinc) for Borboleta. Papagaio is a nutritional center which provides food for the youngest groups of children who otherwise would have very few possibilities of survival. The structure of the pitched roof space has been developed with a transfer of technology from industrial scaffold elements transformed into columns and beams. Only one section becomes the rule of construction and the whole structure and sandwich panels roof were built in two weeks by volunteers connected to the Padri Oblati di Maria. After the mechanical erection, the envelope (realized in crude earth blocks and plaster) was completed by local people who in those years had been trained to learn basic masonry rules.
Marco Imperadori, Graziano Salvalai, Marta M. Sesana, Serena Rosa, Consuelo Montanelli

Open Access

Novel Textile-Based Solutions of Emergency Shelters: Case Studies and Field Tests of S(P)EEDKITS Project

Abstract
The design of the first aid and reconstruction kits in major disaster scenarios highlights a new frontier for Technology of Architecture and Lightweight construction expertise, combining the traditional vocation of component design with innovative research on technical textiles. After an overview of S(P)EEDKITS—a project which received funding from the EU FP7—the essay focuses on research activities conducted by the ABC Department at Politecnico di Milano on the sustainable design applied to textile-based shelters. The essay also presents the results of two field tests conducted in Burkina Faso (2013–2014) and in Senegal (2015–on going), evaluating the environmental performances of shelters developed by the authors. The research was conducted in collaboration with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Netherlands Red Cross, the Médecins sans Frontieres (Operational centre of Amsterdam),—Operational centre of Amsterdam, Sioen Industries NV, Ferrino SpA, and with researchers of Vrije Universiteit of Brussel and Eindhoven Technische Universiteit.
Alessandra Zanelli, Andrea Campioli, Carol Monticelli, Salvatore Viscuso, Gianluca Giabardo

Open Access

The Mo.N.G.U.E. Development and Experimentation Project in Mozambique

Abstract
The Development and Experimentation project in Mozambique led to the elaboration of a model and an investigation process aimed at delineating a cognitive base useful to trace possible improvement actions to be undertaken while respecting the preservation of the place’s identity in accordance with developmental continuity. The project is located in a territorial context of great natural value which is being restored as a social and identity point of reference. For this reason, it needs protection from uncontrolled urban growth that could undermine the community-environment system. The general objective is to make Mongue a place with a recognisable identity for a large community through shared interdisciplinary planning aimed at establishing a plurality of functions and services. The aim is to create a new system capable of feeding that rooting in the place, necessary to counter the tendency to eradicate local populations.
Liala Baiardi

Past, Present and Future

Frontmatter

Open Access

Low-Cost Digital Tools for Archaeology

Abstract
Modern technology offers elaborated and efficient instruments capable of performing extremely accurate surveys of architectural and archaeological remains. However, not all of them can be used everywhere: archaeological missions might be constrained by logistics, environmental and, especially, financial restrictions. This issue is especially felt by archaeological missions currently operating in the Middle East and Africa. The research team of the ERC project LIFE (CoGrant 681673) has been successfully experimenting with the use of low-cost instruments to achieve equally accurate results.
Luca Perfetti, Francesco Fassi, Corinna Rossi

Open Access

Digital Workflow to Support Archaeological Excavation: From the 3D Survey to the Websharing of Data

Abstract
Archaeology has recently seen a rise in the use of digital tools and new technologies. However, in many cases, innovative tools are used to perform old operations, and their potential is not fully exploited to achieve equally innovative results. Moreover, in the practice of archaeological excavations, the collection of digital data proceeds alongside the collection of classic paper archives, thus prompting the necessity to find a way to combine different sets of data. The research team engaged in the ERC project LIFE (CoGrant 681673) is working on the identification of the most effective survey methods in relation to specific logistic and environmental conditions, as well as on the possibility to efficiently combine digital and paper archives, and is testing the results on two archaeological excavations in Egypt.
Corinna Rossi, Cristiana Achille, Francesco Fassi, Francesca Lori, Fabrizio Rechichi, Fausta Fiorillo

Open Access

Tools for Reading and Designing the ‘Islamic City’. Italian Urban Studies at the Crossroads

Abstract
Starting from the typological and morphological studies conducted in Italy since the Sixties of the last century, the essay aims to investigate limits and possibilities in the application of these studies to urban contexts that are different from those for which they were originally conceived and developed. The rediscovery of the historic city, mostly forgotten or cancelled since then, both in the intentions and physically, receives from here an international acknowledgement. The researches on the Islamic urban phenomenon carried out by Italian scholars were strictly linked to design issues. Since the end of the 1960s, in fact, several Italian architects were involved in town planning activities of several cities of the Islamic world.
Michele Caja, Martina Landsberger, Cecilia Fumagalli
Additional information