Urbanist's Guide to Lomé, Togo

Lome Intro ・ Dec 21, 2021

Here I am. I moved to Lomé, the capital city of Togo, Africa!

I'll be working and exploring some of the cities of Africa until the next summer with a talented urbanist and a fantastic co-worker, Julien Carbonnell. The initiative I've joined in Togo is called WɔɛLab, created by Sénamé Koffi A., a community-based incubation hub that encourages smart-city development in a local context and educates the local community with digital technology. It's eye-opening to learn what they have achieved here, from creating the first "Made in Africa" 3D printer from e-waste, to tackling plastic-waste issues, to creating a local digital currency system, and urban farming, and beyond. I'll be here until the end of January 2022, until I moved to the next destination, Cameroon.

This is a list of urbanism-related happenings in Lomé. I'm still trying to understand the city and its culture, so the list will be constantly updated as I discover more. You can also listen to the everyday sound of Lomé that I've gathered on Soundcloud, which will be updated along the way also.

Things to do, places to go

  • First of all, I need to of course mention WoeLab, a tech & entrepreneurial hub in West Africa. They've been working to create a bottom-up smart city driven by local citizens and democratic digitalization; called HubCity. To understand the whole picture, watch this video for an introduction!

  • I've learned that Onomo hotel is a hub for the creative-minded. I went there to see a pop-up store by a Togolese brand Marché noir Lomé Paris. Amah Ayivi, the founder, was born in Togo and came to live in Paris as a teenager, and he sells vintage clothes that he finds on the Togolese markets. Read his interview here.

  • I couldn't help but notice the ruin of Hotel de la Paix next to Onomo hotel. The building is abandoned and looks a little ghosty at night, but I was astonished by its beautiful shape. In 1975, the Togolese government promoted the tourism industry, and Hôtel de la Paix was amongst one of the four competing international class hotels on the coast to serve wealthy international travelers and upper class Togolese. Unfortunately, because of funds mismanagement, the hotel needed to close, but the hotel ruin has become a place for artists and musicians who rent the space for events and art exhibitions. Someday I'd love to see how it looks inside!

  • Living in Lomé, you can't help but notice a giant road Boulevard Du 30 Aout because you always use it. As long as I heard, it's a new development by the government, that made the travel to downtown a lot faster but changed the whole landscape of the city, It also has greatly affected the real estate prices around the Boulevard. I don't have further information about this, but I'd love to know more since this is one of the biggest, most prominent public infrastructures of the city.

  • Monument de l'independance was built as a tribute to Togo’s independence from France on April 27, 1960.

  • I feel that the beach Plage de Lomé has a lot of stories to unpack. I'm digging more into it along with the history of the famous ruin Of Disused Jetty

Read and watch

Organization / initiative

  • L'Africaine d'architecture is an organization to encourage a democratic process of architecture in a local African context, established by Sénamé Koffi.

  • Afro architecture Corporation is a center to promote and document the knowledge of African indigenous architecture and its knowledge.

  • For music lovers, I love the work of a designer and filmmaker Elom 20ce, and a rapper fofo skarfo. Their creations are the representation of their pan-African identities and critical approach towards the existing paradigm.