Suburbanisms in Africa? Spatial growth and social transformation in new urban peripheries: introduction to the cluster

At a time when more people live in African cities than in European cities, cities like Lagos, Luanda, Dar-es-Salam, or Durban appear as potential scenarios for the future of city life globally. By producing new research on the ‘peripheries’ of
cities in Africa, this collection of articles brings a different – African – perspective to global discussions about suburbanisation (the physical expansion of the city) and suburbanisms (the socio-political meaning of this expansion and the ways of life within suburbs). Following Richard Harris’ analysis of the ‘challenge[s] that a worldwide perspective offers to modern Western assumptions about suburbs’ (2010:19), we argue that what is currently happening at the periphery of African cities sheds a new light on an urban process that is observed all around the world. We also begin to ask a series of questions around the nature of African sub-urbanism and suburbanisation: is it enough to identify suburbs with ‘the combination of non-central population and economic growth with urban spatial expansion’, as defined by Ekers, Hamers and Keil (2012)? What can we learn from the specificities of the most recent forms of urbanisation in Africa?

Access the full article from Taylor and Francis.


Publication Type Journal article
Publisher African Studies (Taylor and Francis)
Year 2014
Author(s) Chloé Buire
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