Circuitries of spectral urbanism: Looking Underneath Fantasies in Luanda’s New Centralities

The study of Africa’s new developments and satellite cities has been mostly led under the fundamentally aesthetic typology of ‘urban fantasies’. This provides important elements for a critique of how speculative idioms have been tainting contemporary forms of urban development across the continent, but it does not allow us to apprehend them as modes of city making with particular histories, practices and toolkits. This article leans on the Angolan example to contend with that typology. Drawing on an in-depth study of urban development in contemporary Luanda and its relationship with the Angolan oil complex, it does so in three moments. First, it presents a brief overview of what, in the recent years, has become one of the leading ways of critically assessing urban worlding projects in the African context. Second, it uses an introductory viewpoint into Luanda’s ‘new centralities’ project to contribute towards an improved and more nuanced understanding of what underpins and constitutes the envisioned futures of African cities. And third, it reconsiders and fine-tunes some of the main premises on which the study of Africa’s emerging forms of urban development has been carried out thus far.

Article available from Urbanisation. January, 2017 (Open Access).

Photo: Cranes over Luanda’s skyline (Wikimedia).


Publication Type Journal Article
Publisher Urbanisation
Year 2017
Author(s) Ricardo Cardoso
ISSN 24563714
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