THE PERFECT MATCH (WHAT I WISH I KNEW ABOUT THE TILES I BOUGHT)

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The art of cooking requires the use of the right cooking utensils and cutlery to serve the right dish. It would be an epic failure to use a spatula to serve soup. I can bet that the whole kitchen will become a mess right after this. Please do not try this at home!!!!! Well I was just trying to paint a picture in your mind. Just as serving soup with a spatula would be an error, using the wrong type of tiles for a space in property would seem likewise. In order not to beat about the bush too much, the cusp of the write-up is to guide you in making the right choice in selecting tiles for any space in an edifice.
The first on the list will be ceramic tiles. These tiles are made of red or white clay biscuit with a decorative glaze applied to its surface. Ceramic tiles are best suited for wet areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. This is because they are durable and easy to clean given the nature of activities carried out in a typical kitchen or bathroom accompanied with water splashing, traces of soap and food stains. They are relatively cheap as well.

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The second is porcelain, which is a type of ceramic tile. However, it is more durable and less porous than ceramic tiles. Porcelain is a good choice for residences and properties which attract high human traffic such as airports, retail centres and restaurants because of its strong resistance to abrasion. Hate to burst your bubble but it is quite expensive.

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Another type is marble tiles. They are natural stones with an aesthetic component to them and are popularly used for kitchen tops, living areas and bedroom areas. In the ancient days, marble was a sign of wealth and prominence making it more fitting to be used for famous buildings such as the Washington DC monument and the USA’s Supreme Court building. On the flip side, they are very costly and require a high level of maintenance however they add a touch elegance and classiness to a building.

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Teracotta tiles as the name goes means baked earth. It has a tactile finish and warmth colour. Terracotta is a relatively old building material nevertheless it is hard wearing and durable when treated. Popularly used in pantries, hallways and a variety of interiors. The downside to it is that it cracks easily as it is porous.

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Also, mosaic tiles could be another option for your home. They constitute a combination of glass, ceramic, porcelain or stone. Mosaic is best used as a backsplash to your kitchen or bathroom or as a border to your flooring design. Vinyl tiles are also the most commonly used in bathrooms. It is easy to install and eco-friendly since it is reusable. It’s less prone to cracks and breaking. Mainly most people use it because of its lower in cost as compared to ceramic tiles.

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I will end with one important factor to consider when choosing tiles and that is choose a tile that will match with the colour of your space. We do not want anyone to become colour blind after visiting your home. Lol.
I believe that in choosing the right tile for the right space one is able to maximize the use of building spaces, ensure safety and build at an affordable cost.

Until next time see you guys later.

FROM KIOSK SLUMS TO CONTAINER HOUSING

Slums are not a new phenomenon. They have been with us long ago. This write up will open your eyes to why we see slums all over the major cities, what we all got wrong and how the proliferating of slums can be curbed.

Slums are created because of the highest incidence of migration of people from the rural to the urban areas. People in search of greener pastures or wanting to be close to economic viable, political and administrative centres find themselves in those unacceptably impoverished areas.

The foremost aim of migrants is to develop new strategies and take part in the economic opportunities associated with national capitals, meet their financial needs and their relatives in the rural areas as well as seek for opportunities for their able-bodied relatives.

In Ghana, statistics gathered by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat) shows that the number of urban slum dwellers in Ghana rose from 3.57 million in 1990 to 4.47 million in the year 2000 and a little over 4.84 million at 2010. This statistic, studied closely, reveals migration as a major factor influencing the jump in the population in urban settlements.

Migration into urban areas leads to pressure on land. Thus, many people are forced to live on usually small pieces of land. Because these lands are often used without the authority of Government or her agencies, the people put up a temporal structure. This has given rise to ‘kiosk’ (often substandard, wooden structure accommodation unit in slums). The kiosk-ridden-slum settlements have put Accra in the limelight for discussion due to the inhumane and insanitary conditions slum dwellers are exposed to.

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The rapid development that is taking place for both commercial and residential unit can be pinned to the ‘demonstration effect’ of Accra and more interestingly to court investors into the country for various businesses.  The other side of the coin is that, it has influenced the high levels of migration of people to find opportunities in the capital cities. And, in the final analysis, this has escalated the population of urban slum dwellers to nearly 5.35 million Ghanaians with 37.9 per cent of Ghana’s total urban population living in slums, according to a United Nations report released in 2014.

The migration ‘epidemic’ puts pressure on both the government and social amenities in the urban centres. The government, on one hand, is faced with a lot of pressure to curb the situation. Some reforms and policy prepositions have been made to ensure that most people are not motivated to move away from their town into the city with the sole aim of searching for greener pastures are under consideration.  Particularly, the current Ghanaian government, headed by President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo is proposing a policy with a common, catchy slogan, “One District, One Factory” to create jobs for young people in their districts.

Again, the Ghanaian government, in 2017, created the Ministry of Inner-Cities and Zongo Development. The ministry is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring equitable distribution of resources to less deprived towns (mostly the slum areas where conditions are deplorable).  The Government’s belief is that these policies interventions will go a long way to reduce crime rate and poverty in such specific areas.

Rightly so, with the policies of “one district, one factory”, when practically and effectively implemented (something that is hard to expect in Africa), there is the likelihood that development will take place in various regions which will serve as a catalyst for jobs, increased productivity and human decency.

But, realistically, the effect of these policies, may yield little results because, technically and practically, youth unemployment statistics is alarmingly frightening and the policy cure in ‘One District, One Factory’ may not be lethal enough thereby leaving rural-urban migration to thrive.

While we argue about economic policies that may or may not work, decisive steps need to be taken to close the over a million housing deficit in Ghana. The State must recognise the need to formulate more incentives for private developers in the country. The incentives could begin with the removal of the 5% Value Added Tax on property sale. This tax, like many nuisance others, is a stumbling block to the provision of decent and affordable housing in Ghana.  Government’s partnership with the Private sector, with regards to the provision of homes through mortgage services which favors especially people in the working and lower classes are welcomed.

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Considering the lack of attention from governments, then and now, the canker is widening. The reason is that few of the incentives that the government has provided are piecemeal which estate developers shy away from – providing low cost houses. For most estate developers, the challenge is with the high interest rate and constant depreciation of our local currency. The situation has forced the market to build and sell than to rent. If they did the latter, it took a longer time to recoup their capital and if they are not lucky, time value for money will leave their accounting books hanging.

But there must be a shift in the way we plan, build and deliver homes. From the slum areas to the sprawling areas for lower income earners, ‘container housing’ is the way to go.  At least, it is a good way of delivering affordable homes to people on the lowest of the social class scale.

Container housing is not a re-invention of the wheel. It is a well-developed system in other countries. As the popular saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Dock Inn Hostel, located in Germany, built entirely out of disused container materials is not far in sight. That building has of 64 rooms and can accommodate up to 188 guests in 25-square-metre area. Parts of the hostel has been welded together to make space for four and eight-bed dorms. While Dock Inn Hostel is built from recycled container, its safety and comfort are not compromised.

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Governments across Africa, and especially in Ghana, should be proactive in dealing with redevelopment of slums in the country. This she can do by providing incentives for developers to undertake such projects and educate the citizenry about the safety and quality of the houses.

To be sure, slums must be redesigned with new structures which are well developed and can command a market value. Again, the government can relocate them to newly built container sites to create a new market value which will go a long way to balance the books of developers when the market fully matures.

Finally, by way of call to the government, without incentives, the kiosk-flooded slums will not fade away. It is up to the government to act with partners in taking pragmatic steps to treat the issue with the lenses of national security as well as upholding the decency every citizen is entitled to.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Felix Dade is an educator, peace advocate, youth coach and social development worker with a decade of professional experience working with young people in an atmosphere that engenders respect, creativity , critical thinking and problem-solving.

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facebook-logo  Felix Dade

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Ernest Tsifodze is also an author, motivational speaker and real estate learner

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facebook-logo Tsifodze Kwadzo Ernest

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Website: www.tsifodzeernest.com

“Siri, Open The Door!”

 

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The month of September will always remind me of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.

It was the first day of school. Rocking my new all-white Nike Air Max, I had the world at my feet. Obviously. I regally walked through the already opened glass doors which opened to the Reception hall, all the while stealing quick glances at my Nikes. A couple of meters into the building, I turned my head for no reason, only to realize the doors were still open. There and then, I had flashes of my mother yelling out at me as a child, “Kwame, Close my door!”. And guess what? I swaggered back to what I now know as an automatic door and attempted to close it. I WAS ATTEMPTING TO CLOSE AN AUTOMATIC DOOR!!! I cringe every single time at this memory and it gets even more disappointing knowing my age as at the time of this incident. Fortunately, this moment was not caught on tape.

Wait a minute! Was it caught on tape? Am I a GIF waiting to go viral?  😭

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Technology is shifting the paradigm of real estate. It is changing the entire verity about real estate with the presence of “smart buildings”. Smart buildings are increasingly springing up across the world and automatic doors are just an example of how “smart” buildings can be. (Smart buildings: influencing building design and functionality via technology). The “smartness” levels vary among buildings from a simple installation of CCTV cameras to a complex Internet of Things (IoT) which can be responsive to voice commands.

An important information I acquired as a Land Economy undergraduate student is that the value of a property is mainly determined by three factors: location, location and location. The integration of technology will be a force to reckon with in determining property values as well and this is due to the benefits that are associated with being smart.

As a young man in the 21st century, I prefer to own a property that will be able to ease my stress of doing things, ensure comfort and safety while increasing productivity and make me financially sustainable and “smart buildings” seem to promise these. In a country such as Ghana where it is highly possible to be billed exorbitantly on energy consumption, it will be smart to be smart (Pun intended).

Technology incorporated in your building helps in improving its efficiency by optimizing utilization of facilities in the building. Take light sensitive switches for instance: light bulbs are triggered to turn on only when the technology records an insufficient presence of natural light or when the technology recognizes the presence of a body in the room (which could have an override, of course, based on the occupant’s preferences) and this is particularly useful in reducing energy consumption. Not just that, but smart buildings are custom designed to make life very comfortable by ensuring easier access and control of security, appliances and other electrical contraptions at your comfort and remotely by using your smart phone or even voice recognition.

In view of this, one can say that smart homes are safer, cost efficient (in the long run), and more convenient and therefore should be easier to sell due to its features which make smart buildings even more valuable. However, these technology integrations will add to the already expensive property market in Ghana.

Who wouldn’t want to own a smart building? I know I would. However, we are placed in a “catch-22” situation where in order to save, we need to spend. This even becomes more interesting especially in a country where majority of its citizens cannot afford to own property, a country where owning a house now is seen to be more of a luxury than a necessity.

About the Authors

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Arku Robert Nutifafa graduated from the Department of Land Economy (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology) in the year 2017 and did his national service at the Department as a Teaching and Research assistant. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Urban Planning.

 

twitter_logo     Arku Nutifafa

facebook-logo    Nutifafa Arku

images  Robert Nutifafa Arku

 

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Richard Oppong is a final year student pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Land Economy at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He was the immediate past Vice President of LAMDSA( Land Management and Development Students’ Association)

images Richard Oppong-Adjei

téléchargement (3) Richard Denzel Adjei

DESIGNING YOUR HOME IN GHANA DOESN’T HAVE TO BE HARD. READ THESE 9 TIPS

Designing your new home in Ghana can be a hectic and challenging task. At the same time, the design of your home is essential to the enjoyment of your home. Even your comfortability in your new home is dependent on the design of the home, making it very necessary that particular attention is paid to the design of your new home but designing your home does not have to be hard if you follow these helpful tips:

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  1. Sketch Your Ideas or Write Down a List of Features You Want in Each Room

Sketching your ideas or writing down a list of features you want helps you to carefully consider options and decide which best suits you. While doing this, always have your design objectives in mind. Sketching or writing down your ideas helps to save time in the design process.

  1. Put Your Listed Features in Order of Priority

After sketching or writing down your ideas, the next is to prioritize what you seek to achieve in the design. If you want a huge washroom, a tiny living room, a kitchen that’s upside down. This is the time to set your priorities right. In doing this, you may involve your architect to ensure that your dreams are be feasible.

The right professionals can shape your ideas and wishes into something that will actually look good in the end and turn your rough sketches into an actual layout design. Don’t be afraid to invest enough time and money into this because a professional design is going to make a difference between a perfect home and a disaster.

  1. Consider Your Lifestyle

In writing down or sketching your ideas and in putting listed features in order of priority, it is important that you consider your lifestyle as well as the lifestyle of the prospective occupants. Are you the type who entertains guests to sleep over in your house regularly? Are you the type who appreciates greeneries? All of these should be duly incorporated in the design of your new home.

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  1. Take Future Plans into Consideration

As much as you consider your current lifestyle in designing your new home, you should give equal attention to your future plan. You should consider the future size of your family – How much will your numbers be increasing in future? Or are your children intending to settle elsewhere in few years?   Take your time and do your research both online and in person. Be sure to take the time to meet with professionals in the industry.

5. Consider How Occupants Will Function in Each Space

 Each space should suit its use. In doing this, ensure that rooms are well-organised and have enough space to meet the needs. The rooms should be flexible, adaptable and allow for a variety of household activities. You may allow for a variety of household activities and occupants‘ needs by considering the necessary requirements for each space.

 6. Pay Attention to Lights

Lighting is another essential element to consider in the design of your new home. It helps in creating an illusion of space. The placement of the light can either make the space look bigger or smaller, wider or narrower.

Again, good lighting can be used to enhance colours within a design. During the day, sunlight will naturally illuminate a room and showcase the colour selection.

Depending on the type of bulb, the light emitted may be a warm or cool colour and would affect the overall feel of the room.

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7. Consider the Safety of Occupants

The possibility of encountering problems such as indoor air quality problems, occupational illnesses and injuries, exposure to hazardous materials, and accidental falls are dependent on the design of your new home. To design a home that ensures occupant safety and health, it is very important that you employ the services of a qualified architect.

8. Determine the Room Sizes

Based on the lifestyle of occupants, you should determine reasonable room sizes to suit your comfortability and enjoyment of your new home.

9. Choose a Design That Works with Your Budget

To get a good design that suits your preferences and works with your budget requires the service of a qualified architect. It is also important to know that a bigger budget doesn’t always mean a better design.

The features you select are key to determining the success of a space and not how much you spend. Ensure that all your preferences are within budget.

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