'Pneuma-City': Frictional Infrastructure, Road Ecologies and Valorisation of End-of-Life Tyres Towards More Sustainable Urban Economies in West African Mega-Cities
This interdisciplinary project, combining engineering and social sciences, addresses a global environmental challenge that is visibly dominant in African streetscapes: the ubiquity of end-of-life tyres (ELTs). Focusing on Lagos, the fastest growing city in sub-Saharan Africa, ‘Pneuma-City’ is the first project to explore the multifaceted impact of used tyres on road ecologies, while also promoting social and technical solutions aimed at creating more sustainable urban environments that in turn improve the well-being of workers and residents. Specifically, the project seeks to explore (1) the gendered informal cultures, livelihoods and technologies of tyre-related work; (2) the complex place of waste tyres in street/road ecologies; and (3) the circular economies of repurposing. The project bridges formal and informal infrastructures by conceptually tracing the role of tyres as ‘frictional’ within urban contexts where automobile transport is hegemonic, with the ambition to put ELT challenges and opportunities at the heart of a vision for a sustainable future.