Transform Our City

People from across the city are coming together to transform Port Harcourt into a ‘human city.’ They are inviting the government to join them.

Ordinary people build cities. People like you and me. If planners and politicians listen to the people, they will discover thousands and thousands of ideas and partners for development.

Waterfront residents are working with architects, engineers, energy innovators and planners from around the world to find solutions to problems that ordinary people face everyday: clean water, sanitation, electricity, good housing. People in the waterfronts and across the city want to build homes, not to destroy them.

We want development, not demolition. We want to make Port Harcourt a city for all its citizens. A government working together with its people could transform Port Harcourt into a model for cities across the continent and a partner to commercial interests across the world.

This is how we are transforming our city:

Planning & building

Chicoco Media Centre

Chicoco Media Centre is being designed and built with local residents. Waterfront communities will be able to share their vision of the city with the city. Films made by and about waterfront communities will be screened in the cinema, local musicians will broadcast from Nigeria’s first community radio station.

The building and the area around it will provide community space for cultural and commercial activities.

Demonstrating the capacity of waterfront communities to contribute to the city’s development, the media centre will combine local skills and materials with world-class design. Architecturally innovative, environmentally and economically sustainable, the media centre will be one of the city’s landmark buildings.

And what we learn through the process of designing and building the media centre, we will share with the rest of the city.

The media centre will combine local skills and materials with world-class design.

Community pilot projects

People in the waterfronts have to provide many basic services for themselves. Where the government has failed to provide water, drainage, sanitation, electricity or access roads, resourceful communities have developed them.

Some technical and strategic assistance will improve these efforts. Architects, planners and engineers from around the world are collaborating with communities on a series of small-scale, high-impact pilot projects that will share the skills and confidence that allow communities to improve their lives and facilities. We hope these will encourage the government to deliver on its responsibilities to all its citizens.

We want to see the tools, techniques and models we develop with pilot communities scaled up and rolled out across the city.

A neighbourhood sanitation action programme is the first pilot to significantly improve the quality of everyday life.

Participatory Mapping

At present waterfront communities do not meaningfully feature on municipal maps, nor in the plans drawn up for the city’s development. You Are Here, a participatory project, gives excluded communities the power to literally put themselves on the map.

Through the making and sharing of maps, communities identify and analyse key problems and potentials. Using a specially designed mapping pack, the project brings people together to tell stories about their communities in new and useful ways, gathering and visualising a broad range of information that will give focus to future planning interventions.

Community members identify physical features, shared amenities, problematic infrastructures, points of interest and areas of cultural significance.

People’s Plan

It is ordinary people that build cities. People like you and me. If planners and politicians listen to the people, they will discover thousands and thousands of ideas and partners for development. People live here, but they do not feature in the city government’s plans for Port Harcourt’s future. So waterfront people are starting to plan today for tomorrow’s city. They are inviting the government to join them.

Making livable cities is the challenge of this century. By 2025, 60% of Nigerians will live in urban centres and currently 79% of the urban population live in slums. The People’s Plan will chart ways in which we can share in building a human city, making Port Harcourt a city for all its citizens.

Port Harcourt: people are planning today for tomorrow's city.

Communicating & campaigning

People Live Here

PEOPLE LIVE HERE is a call for ideas, action, solidarity, conversation and participation. The campaign is visible in the waterfronts, across the city and around the world. It includes billboards, bus wraps, street posters, tee shirts, postcards, films, SMS actions, social media and this website.

PEOPLE LIVE HERE dramatically places the people and rights of the Port Harcourt waterfronts in the public arena. And it allows you to show your support, share your ideas and get involved. Your support matters.

The People Live Here campaign will be graphic and visible around the city.

Chicoco Cinema

Chicoco Cinema is a mobile and inflatable cinema. It is our ‘internet on the street’: it allows us to share news of our projects and keep the communities in the picture. Thousands of people from across the city have attended Chicoco Cinema screenings.

The cinema tours the waterfront communities of Port Harcourt showing films made by and about those communities, as well as classics from world cinema.

Chicoco Cinema audiences are spectators and actors in their own drama. They learn to use cinema to record their lives, project their stories, and show the government they are accountable. At the end of a long day, Chicoco Cinema is a place where people come together to eat popcorn and watch movies on a big inflatable screen.

Screenings often have audiences of over 500 people. Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ is popular with all ages.

Chicoco Collective Events

Concerts, football matches, fashion shows, conferences and rallies open space for communities to come together and celebrate their achievements. Drawing on local and international talent to mobilise and celebrate, the events programme builds networks and raises the profile of the project.

World renowned musicians Nneka, Dotan and Duncan Mighty, Nollywood star Sam Dede, fashion label Kinabuti, and award-winning photographer George Osodi are all project partners.

Talking Machine performs for an audience at the 2010 Bundu solidarity concert. A musician from Okrika waterfront, he is known and loved across the city.

Documenting & monitoring

Human Rights Litigation

Our rights-based litigation programme strengthens accountability and empowers communities by setting important precedents that demonstrate social, economic and cultural rights can be upheld by courts of law.

Litigation seeks to ensure that the government draws up its development plans in partnership with those most immediately affected by them and always in compliance with domestic law, international obligations, and with due regard for fundamental rights. This in turn is part of a broader effort to promote a rights-protective, transparent and participatory approach to governance.

The project litigates at a regional level. It is currently pursuing a landmark case against the Rivers State government and the Federal Government of Nigeria in the ECOWAS Court of Justice.

A victim of security force violence at the launch of the community-led ECOWAS litigation and publication of Amnesty International’s report on forced evictions in Port Harcourt.

Documentary Filmmaking

Our documentary production programme is a collaboration between experienced filmmakers and talented community members. It shares skills, technologies and confidence that allow communities to document and to celebrate their experience. This is the platform for a collaborative feature documentary production project.

Through film, communities focus on issues that matter to them, tell their stories, put themselves in the picture and connect with international audiences. The films they make are powerful advocacy tools and powerful stories.

Community members participate in the making of films. The Chicoco cinema invites communities to come together, share their films and tell their stories.

Community-based Monitoring

This project is part of an ongoing human rights documentation and monitoring programme supported by Amnesty International. Community based monitoring raises awareness of fundamental rights and boosts the capacity of communities to document violations and monitor observance.

The community members used Flip cameras to record the events of Bundu, 12 10 09.

Reports and Resources

What you can do

There are a number of really simple ways you can get involved and support the people of Port Harcourt’s waterfronts. Follow our campaign’s progress and join the conversation via Facebook or Twitter, or add your photo to our solidarity wall.

Find out how