MOBILE LOITERING

4 miles of flÂNERIE FÉMININE

By their very nature, city streets provide spaces where one easily appears to be on the way to somewhere, while never actually going anywhere. This aspect is exploited by young girls in Niamey, Niger’s capital, as they engage in an act of “mobile loitering” that allows them to socialize with one another while escaping scrutiny from an increasingly conservative Muslim society. Through constant movement, undertaken with the pretext of making social calls to each other, young girls are able to see and be seen, interact with one another, and enjoy relative privacy in these interactions. This project proposes a public space that is adapted to these cultural norms in the form of an urban route that links public venues currently popular among the city’s youth and adds program components along the way. The proposal uses the public realm in an opportunistic manner; employing tactics similar to those developed by street hawkers and other informal actors in many African cities to site destinations such as study carrels, fitness venues/amphitheaters, a market, as well as outreach program spaces. With this approach, the project seeks to provide a right to the city that is becoming less and less attainable for many young women in Niamey. 

Location: Niamey, Niger.
Architects: Mariam Kamara
Status: Proposal