Anam City proposes a RURBAN model—urban densities of opportunity combined with rural strategies for productive landscape—through a coupled “hardware” and “software” approach to sustainable community development. Through design we can make better components (hardware) for human settlement with improved integration to landscape systems in Africa. However, optimized performance is equally contingent on developing operating systems (software) in the image of indigenous users, coded to virally exploit extant cultural modalities to modify behavior within networked social ecologies. This is hybridized rural/urban design/build that can spread most powerfully as an open-source platform. We define sustainability according to a treble schema (S-E-T) whereby Sociological, Ecological and Technological parameters form the logic circuit that mediates hardware and software in the rurban context.
The Anam City project is the coordinated effort of a single African community to transform by means of available tools both its community hardware (into a new town conceived as an urban-scaled landscape of green infrastructure) and its operating system (into an open-source platform tuned via culturally-embedded social technology). Sustainability thus becomes the pure mandate of viability: similar to the cultural act of survival enacted daily across the continent, and concomitant imperative of affordability, Anam City seeks—experimentally—to sustain a collective initiative that radically changes outcomes by reprocessing existing conditions.