Built environment research in West Africa current trends and future directions
Laryea, S. and Leiringer, R. T. F. (2011) Built environment research in West Africa current trends and future directions. In: CIB-W107 International Conference on Innovation and Sustainable Construction in Developing Countries, November 1-3, 2011, Daewoo Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam. (In Press)
Official URL: http://cibw107.ncat.edu/index.php/conferenceflyer....
The countries in West Africa (WA) are pushing for socio-economic development. The construction sector has an important part to play in helping to realise these aspirations. This necessitates an increased emphasis on research in the built environment, as a key contributor to developing capacity, knowledge and technologies for the sector. The West Africa Built Environment Research (WABER) conference was initiated in 2008. The objective was to: help young built environment researchers in West Africa (WA) to develop their research work and skills through constructive face-to-face interaction with their peers and experienced international academics; supply a platform for interaction among more senior academics and an outlet for disseminating their research work; and to serve as a vehicle for developing the built environment field in Africa. Three conferences have so far been organised, 2009 - 2011, bringing together ~300 academics, researchers and practitioners from the WA region. This paper draws on content analysis of the 189 papers in the proceedings of three conferences: 2009 (25); 2010 (57) and 2011 (107). These papers provide a window into current research priorities and trends and, thus, offer an opportunity to understand the kinds of research work undertaken by built environment researchers in West Africa. The aim is to illuminate the main research themes and methods that are currently pursued and the limitations thereof. The findings lay bare some of the many challenges that are faced by academics in WA and provide suggestions for alternative directions for future research and development work with indications of a potential research agenda.