Seminar: Aspects of Materials, Architecture, Structures, and Gender Equity in Sustainable Urban Development in Africa

Wednesday, 22. September 2021

SES Conference Room, School of Engineering Sciences, Annie Jiagge Rd, University of Ghana

9:00 – 12:30

Aspects of Materials, Architecture, Structures, and Gender Equity in Sustainable Urban Development in Africa

09:00-9:15: Welcome on behalf of UG, BAM, BMBF (PAWS) and RILEM

Prof. David Dodoo- Arhin, University of Ghana, Ghana

Dr. Wolfram Schmidt, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Germany

09:15-09:45: Construction material versus architecture 

Prof. Fatma Mohamed, University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

09:45-10:15: Material saving construction strategies  

Prof. Simone Stürwald, University of Munich, Germany

10:15-10:45: Sustainable materials and concrete solutions with bio-based constituents

Dr. Wolfram Schmidt, Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung, Germany

10:45- 11:15: Coffee break

11:15-12:30: ‘Is the world literally ‘built’ for men?

Nonkululeko Radebe, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Germany


Africa is the fastest growing continent, according to McKinsey. By 2025 there will be 100 African cities with more than one million inhabitants. This urban growth will require enormous amounts and movements of construction materials, which in return will coin economic growth on the one hand along with ecologic impact on the other hand. It is therefore important to plan and build the expansion of cities with sustainability at the forefront. Incorporating local materials into the supply chain can create livelihoods, the availability of space and resources offers opportunities to create socio-economically responsive urban regions that can be future-oriented without losing tradition and cultural heritage. Through the lens of sustainable materials, structures and designs we can create more environmentally friendly materials, healthy and liveable cities. Sustainability in the context of urbanisation allows for innovative, reinvention and restoration of past and current solutions to evolving urban problems.

In the past, gender aspects have been neglected out of development debate, hence it is crucial to have intersectional solutions when we engage in sustainable development discourse. There is still a huge disparity in the representation of women in STEM fields across the world not just in Africa. In sub-Saharan Africa only 31.3% of women are in employed in Research and Development positions and of which most are in lower positions and have limited decision-making power. There is a need to have inclusive solutions that will ensure the success of women in STEM and achieving sustainable developments. 


The Seminar “Aspects of Materials, Architecture, Structures and Gender Equity in Sustainable Urban Development in Africa” gathers high-level experts from materials, architecture and sciences who will give insights on sustainable urbanisation with a focus on to sustainable materials, architectural and structural solutions, as well as gender considerations.


The seminar takes place with the financial support of Programme Advocating Women in STEM (PAWS) by the German Ministry of Education and Research ( The scientific content has been approved by the RILEM Educational Activities Committee (

FALCONESS Kick-off meeting in Accra

Between 20 and 24 September the FALCONESS Kick-off meeting will take place. Despite the difficult times, it was possible to organise a joint meeting of the project group as well as external experts who can contribute to the discussions.

The one-week workshop will be held at Hillburi, Aburi. The first day is dedicated to technical issues. On the second days, a student seminar will be held at the University of Ghana followed by an Accra architectural and urban development tour. The third day will be a full interactive workshop day with the aim to better specify the challenges and potentials of female African researchers within the Built Environment. In the last day of the workshop, homework will be distributed, so that a fruitful follow up workshop can be organised between 11 and 15 October in Berlin.