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International report

Sustainable construction in Senegal

Audio 04:00
The workmen are making earth bricks by hand press, and sifting earth.
The workmen are making earth bricks by hand press, and sifting earth. © Emmanuelle Landais

The Senegalese capital of Dakar is spreading in every direction. New houses - white, yellow, pink - some tiled and others rising towers of raw breezeblocks, are transforming the city. Senegal’s building boom is helped in part due to three cement companies in the country.

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Building one’s own house, one floor at a time, is an accessible dream for those that can afford it. But environmentally speaking, the cement houses are energy deficient and badly insulated.

The more natural compressed earth bricks are competing for a piece of the building boom, but many emerging Senegalese associate the red bricks with 'peasant housing'.

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