Can recycling help Nairobi cut its waste?

Solid waste management is Nairobi’s most visible environmental challenge. Rubbish heaps piled high with paper, plastics and other waste are an everyday feature of the city’s landscape. Dirty, torn plastic bags are seen wedged stubbornly into roadside features such as drainage, pavements and shrubbery in poor and more affluent areas alike. With a growing population, […]

Examining Nairobi’s split personality

Walking through certain parts of Nairobi, one is struck by the formal elements that highlight the city’s conscious march towards becoming a “world-class city.” Images of the formal or “modernity,” such as the development of public commuter rail, shopping malls with mega supermarkets and organic food outlets, and tall, all-glass skyscrapers that house multinational corporations […]

Staking a claim: mining Johannesburg’s new resources

Johannesburg is a space of intense paradox. It is a city where fortunes have been made, lost and made again; a place where lives are lived in glittering luxury and/or dire poverty. The state is both absent and present; residents are visible and invisible, profoundly connected to each other and in states of intense disconnection, […]

Planning for exclusion in Abuja

Nigeria, a nation deeply scarred by colonialism and years of civil war, took the decision in 1991 to build a new capital city at the country’s centre. Abuja is Africa’s first modernist capital and follows in the tradition of other planned cities across the world, from Brasilia (Brazil), to Washington D.C. (USA) to Chandigarh (India). […]

Kigali 2020: the politics of silence in the city of shock

Few governments in Africa have been as ambitious as Rwanda’s when it comes to thinking about their urban future. To anyone who knows the country, this intensity of ambition should come as no surprise. Rwanda’s ‘Vision 2020’ strategy paints a picture of a middle-income country in the year 2020: a regional economic powerhouse serving as […]

Artists as urban catalysts in downtown Cairo

Last December the Goethe Institute hosted a panel discussion titled “Artists as Urban Catalysts in Downtown Cairo.” The event was organized by Beth Stryker and Omar Nagati (Cluster) and supported by the Ford Foundation. Invited panelists represented two types of stakeholders in downtown: property owners (Karim Shafei, CEO of Al Ismaelia Real Estate Development, and […]

Dakar unsettled

By the dawn of 2006, Dakar, Senegal, seemed on the brink of great metamorphosis. Across the coastal capital city, the struggling nation’s grand potential was being declared through poured concrete and rising skeletons of steel. Drawing inspiration from the spectacular rise of global cities like Dubai, Senegal’s then-president Abdoulaye Wade and his allies imagined large-scale […]

Five ideas from London that could work in Cape Town

London may not be able to compete with Cape Town’s weather and scenery, but we’ve narrowed down a list of five great aspects of London that could work just as well in the Mother City. 1. SHARED SPACE: EXHIBITION ROAD Credit: Charlotte Gilhooly This portal to some of London’s best museums allows for the (reduced) flow of vehicular traffic, […]

The “White City” and Egypt’s modernist heritage

In 2003 UNESCO added Tel Aviv’s “White City” to its list of world heritage sites. The “White City” consists of three zones (central White City, Lev Hair and Rothschild Avenue, and the Bialik Area) containing around 4,000 buildings built from the 1930s to the 1950s in various interpretations of the modernist style. Tel Aviv was […]

Unicef: An Urban World

The graphic depicted here shows countries and territories with 2050 urban populations exceeding 100,000. Circles are scaled in proportion to urban population size. Source United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Population Division special updated estimates of urban population as of October 2011, consistent with World Population Prospects: The 2010 revision and World […]