LOCATION | Ganvie in Benin, Africa

TYPOLOGY | Aquafarming
SYSTEM | Acadja Fish Paddock
PEOPLE | Tofinu

A powerful example of human disturbance and innovation working together can be seen in the city of Ganvie built by the Tofinu tribe. They have evolved a Coupled Human-Nature system (CHANS) in the form of a lake settlement surrounded by artificial aquaculture pens at a scale and level of productivity that rivals the most advanced commercial scale and high-tech systems. Flying over Lake Nokoué in Southern Benin of West Africa, reveals a shoreline of floating forests and frenetic cities. It is believed that four hundred years ago the king of the Tofinu people or ‘men of water’, took the form of a great egret to soar the same path over the lake’s sacred waters searching to resettle his kingdom. At the Sô River inlet several miles from any shoreline, King Abodohoue created Ganvie. Today, the city has been christened the ‘Venice of Africa’ and is one of the most unique urban lacustrine environments on earth.

Illustrations by Christianna Bennett

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© 2019. Julia Watson Studio

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