The Urban Sustainability Program within the Gabon-Oregon Center (GOC) focuses on addressing Libreville’s urban expansion and immediate development needs that match Gabonese priorities. These priorities will be developed in line with already-identified urban improvements being studied and/or implemented by the Government of Gabon and the Gabonese academic community. Identified priority areas are: the education sector, housing, and sustainable urban growth.
The Urban Sustainability Program incorporates three dynamic streams: training and education, research collaborations, and project-based work. By integrating the three levels of engagement, we are able to complement theory with practice and create a solid foundation for the ongoing program.
The largest project in this area to date has partnered University of Oregon’s Urban Design Lab, Gabon’s national infrastructure agency, Agence Nationale des Grands Travaux (ANGT), and students and staff from the Université Omar Bongo in order to create a master plan for a more sustainable and growing university campus. You can catch up on the project and see some of the work HERE.
Another recent project focuses on urban air quality in both Libreville and Port-Gentil. The National Anti-pollution Center (CNAP) and LAGRAC, an applied research lab in the geography department of Université Omar Bongo, are working in collaboration with a team from the Department of Planning, Public Policy & Management at University of Oregon, led by Dr. Nicole Ngo. The aim of the project is to measure particulate mater in the air and understand the health-related impacts. It will also include training and technology transfer.
The Gabon-Oregon Center is exploring several other areas of opportunity for urban sustainability projects and partners. We have once more engaged the Urban Design Lab, LAGRAC, and Université Omar Bongo Geography faculty to craft SMARTCODE training and curriculum for Gabonese students, faculty and staff in 2016. Participants will learn theory and methodology to apply SMARTCODE principles to urban development, using GIS technology and looking at both the regional and community scale. It is a tool that can be used by urban planners to accommodate development and population increases in urban areas by carefully concentrating city density while preserving prime farmland and crucial habitat corridors.
Suzanne Chatelier, at the Libreville office, is the Project Coordinator for the Urban Sustainability Program and can be reached at: email@example.com