Zango: plans unravel

Since 2001, Angola has engaged in large-scale rehousing efforts across Luanda. As the redevelopment of the capital proceeds, more and more residents who have built in “high-risk” areas – alongside roads that need to be widened or on areas demarcated for new projects ­– have been moved to various “social housing” areas: Panguila, Sapú, Projecto … Continued

Concrete politics

Luanda, Angola’s capital, could easily be mistaken for an enormous construction site. Since the end of the civil war (1975 to 2002), the city’s oil-fuelled building boom has attracted investors from all parts of the world. As an everyday experience the result is dust, traffic, and uncertainty. Many reports marvel at the high-rises and mass … Continued

Fighting for citizens’ rights: An interview with SOS Habitat

SOS Habitat is a Luanda-based civil society organisation that was founded by victims of housing demolitions in November 2002. The intention is to defend citizens’ land and housing rights by putting pressure on relevant entities to comply with Angolan and international law. SOS Habitat says its idea is to find a means of negotiating with … Continued

African architectures: Cazenga and urban redevelopment

What should a contemporary African city look like, and what kinds of practices should it cater for? This question lies at the heart of discussions about the redevelopment of Cazenga, one of Luanda’s most well-known musseque areas. While planners argue that they will improve the quality of life of Cazenga’s inhabitants, the residents are worried … Continued

China and the expansion of Luanda

“With the arrival of the Chinese, the cost of (building) material is much lower,” says my informant, a pedreiro, or house-builder. Since the first oil-backed credit line was signed between the Angolan government and China’s Eximbank in March 2004, China has been a prominent player in Angola’s reconstruction. However, the rise of the Chinese presence … Continued