Local in Global: Landscape Paradigm for Strategic Design and Planning in Africa
Sustainability as a developmental paradigm crept into global consciousness in 1987. This was followed by series of world meetings, conventions and protocols starting from 1992 Earth Summit to 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The consensus is that the 1992 and 2002 tenets that drove sustainability philosophy were not sufficient to mitigate global environmental degradation hence the need for low carbon living. Much more is populism trending on global scale. How to design in harmony with the biosphere is the issue at hand. What design philosophy will transform local space to productive place at all scales? This paper examines landscape as the much-needed local sustainability paradigm in African context. It is underpinned by landscape and re-interpreted cosmopolitan localism theories. Cosmopolitan localism is seen on landscape scale as a geo specific thinking framework for a people living in harmony with nature. Such framework benefits from the wisdom that local people have used to inhabit their landscapes without diminishing inherent natural and cultural assets. Landscape is then seen as archaeological piece done in layers and used by different people for different purposes at different time in history. Derived landscape philosophy then constitutes developmental framework. Therefore, each landscape should be re-interpreted to enhance ecological restoration; improved bioregional land productivity, isolate socio-cultural essences ideal for public realm branding; and much more to evolve a new urban agenda resilient to erratic climatic phenomenon, dramatic culture change and negative forces of art and architectural internationalization stifling global south cities.