Cantonments will be a slum in 10 years – Architect

The Principal Architect at Design Protocol, Arc Laud Affotey, has warned of the potential transformation of Cantonments into a slum within the next decade.

Speaking at a sustainable construction development symposium, the seasoned expert in architecture was concerned about the ongoing construction trends in the affluent area, emphasising the danger that lies ahead should it persist.

“In 10 years Cantonments will be a slum. If you’re not aware, it is already a slum in the making. That is one of the best locations we’ve had in this country but in a few years, it will be a slum,” he said on Friday.

The architect attributed the situation to the private developers sidelining local consultants who would advice them adhere to the original plan of the community.

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According to him, Cantonments was initially designed as a low-density community with spacious bungalows and lush greenery.

He however pointed out that the influx of these foreign private developers has led to a shift in the area’s landscape.

“They (private developers) buy the land for $1 million or $2 million and they use it for a purpose which makes commercial sense to them. So instead of the original plan which was a single-occupant facility, they have developed it into a multi-occupant facility which brings density.

“We didn’t have traffic congestion at Cantonments, now there is traffic everywhere. The area doesn’t have the opportunity to even breathe,” he explained.

Arc Affotey emphasised further highlighted the Cantonments’ sense of community and security which are currently experiencing a decline.

Residents, according to him, lack recreational areas for sports activities like football, relying solely on gyms and swimming pools.

He also linked this urban shift to robbery incidents which occurred earlier this year, a development he stressed, was previously unheard of in Cantonments.

“Everybody knew everybody in Cantonments – we knew the Speaker of Parliament’s House and Chief Executives in the area – so you don’t go to Cantonments to steal, but it is already beginning to happen.”

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At the same event, the architect called on his colleagues in the construction industry to always adopt eco-friendly options that would protect the next generation.

He indicated some eco-friendly practices, including the reuse of materials available, reducing the importation of materials, and bringing back the timber industry to conserve and protect the environment.

“Being sustainable does not mean don’t build. It means, let’s build in a way that we can have all the pleasures that we want and still be able to preserve the community, and environment that we have for the next generation. We can do this,” he said.

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