Valley View University, Accra, Ghana
To become the first ecological university
in Africa is the aim of the VVU and for that reason an ecological master
plan for the whole campus was developed in cooperation of the VVU, their
master plan committee and the German Bauhaus-University Weimar in 2002.
The creation of a sustainable campus led
to the formation of an interdisciplinary team with a common goal: to
develop, implement and evaluate sustainable methods of urban planning,
building, sanitation and agriculture. Supported by the German Ministry
of Education and Research the group includes public as well as private
partners from Ghana and Germany.
The master plan allows an extension of the university
in a sustainable and ecological way, which takes the economic and social
situation as well as the climatic characteristics of the country into
The implementation of the master plan shall be a
regional and supra-regional pilot project. With that concept, the VVU
wants to set an example for other African countries.
The design of the ecological master plan is a basic requirement for
the development of a water and nutrient cycle management concept for
the whole campus.
Energy and water are limited and precious resources; therefore it is
very necessary to build in a resource-saving and sustainable way. The
aim was to develop a coherent and holistic concept that allows dealing
with landscape and the resources of the campus as well as sustainable
and ecological building which goes easy on resources. In order to create
a feasible overall concept, it is necessary to develop conclusive partial
A wide entrance avenue with palm trees on both sides leads directly to
the church, the spiritual centre of the Seventh-day Adventist campus.
Here the visitor is getting the character and the spirit of the university.
Next to the central church square, the most important buildings like administration,
auditorium, cafeteria and library are situated. Behind those buildings
the departments are placed on both sides of the green heart within the
On both sides outside of the oval, student hostels and guest houses are
located and ensure a campus of short walking distances. South-west of
the campus, behind the green belt a housing area for faculties and their
families is sited.
About 20 ha of the campus at the south-east are agricultural farmland.
Here can grow fruits and vegetables, which are fertilized by human nutrients
and green waste of the campus. This supports the self-support of the
cafeteria, where exclusively vegetarian meals are served.
On the campus area there are several non-university facilities, which
should on one hand improve the quality of life of the campus' inhabitants
and on the other hand increase the attractiveness of the university
to the people from outside.
Companies in the light industrial area as well as agricultural holdings
from the university can be involved, with their activities and practical
offers, in the teaching programme of the VVU.
What makes the Master Plan ecological?
In order to reduce site development costs, the existing infrastructure
with the oval and the main access road is used. Fundamental decisions
for the master plan were made within the traffic concept. By concentration
and propitious arrangement of the buildings, the length of roads and paths
can be reduced to a large extent. The central campus area should be free
of traffic. Access should only be allowed for service vehicles. All vehicles
stay on a parking space near the entrance. As a result, costs and surface
area for infrastructure as well as time can be saved by the principle
of short distances for the campus.
The long and narrow buildings are arranged perpendicular to the main wind
direction for optimal cross ventilation. By the compound arrangement of
the buildings cool and green courtyards can be formed. “Stadtschaft”
enables rainwater retention. It is healthy for body and spirit and uses
and delivers nutrients at the same time.
By the reduction of the traffic area and by concentrating the building
arrangement, a lot of the area can be used as green space. This improves
linger quality as well as the microclimate. Green spaces like the green
belt, the mango plantation, a botanical garden and agricultural farmland
can be created and developed within walking distance. Different local
plants, an odour garden, shade-giving trees and retention swales and ditches
are some of the design examples, which all work as a single ecological
cell that improve as a cell-compound the biological activity on campus.
To check erosion, the surface should be biologically activated by using
rainwater or purified waste water and its nutrients on site.