• High prices for rentals in Accra

    The number of people living in Accra is thought to be at least eight million. Official statistics say the population grew from 2.9 million in 2000 to four million in 2010 as a result of people flocking to the capital in search of better work prospects. The city’s housing deficit makes it tough for residents […]

  • Weekly news roundup

    Informal settlements keep growing in South Africa’s Mother City Population growth, urbanisation and inadequate planning have led to the proliferation of slum settlements in Cape Town. The metro area contains almost as many informal settlements as the rest of the Western Cape province, despite the fact that Cape Town metro occupies less than 2% of […]

  • What future can there be for Kinshasa la Belle?

    There was once a time when Kinshasa boasted the nickname “Kin, la Belle” (“Kinshasa, the Beautiful”). After all, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s capital and largest city is replete with what locals call “ambience”. It hosts Congolese pop music legends like Koffi Olomide and Papa Wemba and traditional dance scenes that rival if not […]

  • Is affordable housing in Nairobi a myth?

    In Kenya, the yawning gap between demand for housing and its supply continues to grow. The estimated demand in urban areas for housing is approximately 150,000 units a year. The current supply is about 30,000 units.  The gap between supply and demand is felt more keenly in the lower income housing market. Less than 20% […]

  • Losing farmland is forever

    The fight for better cities is seldom as clearly defined as when water and food are at stake. Yet access to both hangs in the balance at the Philippi Horticultural Area – 3074ha of fertile land that has been the city’s breadbasket since the 19th century. This single block of land, tilled for decades, provides […]

  • Registration system for Addis Ababa house seekers

    1.3 million people in need of housing in Ethiopia’s capital are expected to register at the City Administration headquarters. Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency reports: “The registration is said to have been organized in a way [that] offers prompt and reliable service by applying advanced registration and data management mechanisms. Kuma Demeksa, the outgoing Mayor of […]

  • Over three quarters of Accra’s residents live in urban slums

    The People’s Dialogue on Human Settlement, upon forming a localised definition of a slum, established that 80% of Accra’s residents live in slum conditions. CEO Farouk Braimah said, “There are basically two definitions we can ascribe to a slum. We identified five key areas; the one that talks about improved sanitation, the one that talks […]

  • Building a city of neighbourhoods

    Mokena Makeka is a Cape Town-based architect responsible for the redesign of the city’s main transit station – the heart of a 20-year vision of high-density neighbourhoods – and the celebrated Thusong Service Centre in Khayelitsha. Brett Petzer spoke with him about the wait for better spaces. Brett Petzer: Why, within walking distance of Cape […]

  • New African urbanisms: a view from Luanda

    Twenty years ago, Western scholars declared African cities to be in crisis. [1] Years of rapid unplanned urban growth under conditions of economic crisis had taken their toll and observers warned that without ‘good governance’ these cities would be lost beyond repair. Post-war urban development in Luanda as described by the South African anthropologist Claudia […]

  • 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 […]