Where can we find alternative African urban futures?

Available options for the future of African cities appear to be limited to a binary choice between apocalyptic disorder and an irrepressibly optimistic orderliness – between the slum and the tech park. The presentation and reproduction of such a binary choice without doubt restricts our capacity to discover avenues to imagine and create innovative, safe … Continued

Accra’s Efua Sutherland Children’s Park has limited access

The 12-acre green space in central Accra known as Efua Sutherland Children’s Park is one of the city’s largest parks. Situated in the city centre and proximate to the government ministries zone, the national theatre and the city’s largest hotel, one might expect the space to be busy on a typical weekend afternoon. One of … Continued

Visions of African urban futures yet to come

“African cities don’t work”, writes AbdouMaliq Simone at the beginning of his book For the City Yet to Come. ‘Or at least their characterizations are conventionally replete with descriptions ranging from the valiant, if mostly misguided, struggles of the poor to eke out some minimal livelihood to the more insidious descriptions of bodies engaged in … Continued

Considering African urban utopias

Utopian thinking, defined by Friedman as “the capacity to imagine a future that departs significantly from what we know to be a general condition in the present” has informed a range of social and ideological movements from the Paris Commune to the Zapatistas of South-eastern Mexico (in Swilling et al, 2010; Harvey, 2012). Pieterse writes … Continued

King City promises to redefine Ghana’s urban landscape

Renaissance Group, a leading emerging markets investment firm and one of the largest developers of urban land in Africa, has partnered with the chief and people of Takoradi Traditional Area for the King City development in the Western Region of Ghana. The development will be a “sustainable, mixed-use, mixed-income development that promotes economic activity and … Continued

More from the State of the Cities in Africa Project

On September 20-21 the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town, successfully conducted its first Regional Capacity Building Workshop for the State of Cities in Africa (SOCA) Program. Mark Napier, Programme Director of Urban LandMark, presented research entitled, “Investigating on Improved Access by the Poor to Urban Land Markets in Sub-Saharan Africa.” … Continued

On knowledge management, data, finance and researching the state of cities in Africa

The State of the Cities in Africa (SOCA) Project was initiated to address the demand for information and support from cities and practitioners in order to systematically define urban systems in Africa. The SOCA Project is one attempt to respond to the demand for information by building relationships with universities, local governments, national government and other … Continued

Africa open data initiative

Africa Open Data, a repository of data accross Africa is now live.  This could prove a useful resource for the State of Cities Africa project. Jay Bhalla of the Africa Open Data Institute shares some of his experiences in setting up OpenKenya, a pioneering first open data platform    

Land release assessment model: Tool and case studies

In 2009, in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements and the City of Cape Town, Urban LandMark commissioned Eighty/20 and Palmer Development Group (PDG) to develop an approach to assess the cost and benefits of different residential land uses resulting from public land release programmes in the Western Cape. The different residential … Continued

Cape Town: World Design Capital 2014

Cape Town has been in the news lately. In late October, the city won two accolades; first it was announced as the winner of the World Design Capital 2014 accolade and a week or two later, the landmark Table Mountain was declared the 7th Wonder of the World. Much has been made of the significance … Continued

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