• 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 […]

  • Gaborone aspires to be a major player among African cities

    Botswana’s capital was initially planned for 15,000 people and is now home to 300,000. Kibo Ngowi’s documentary film examines Gaborone as ‘the Rising City,’ illustrating its history, present circumstance and view for the future. Leta Mosienyane, author of Gaborone City plan (2009-2021), presents an overview of the history of Botswana’s capital. Emerging in the 1960s […]

  • 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 […]

  • The changing and challenging face of African capital cities

    (21 October 2012, Johannesburg­) – The challenge posed to capital cities is clear: Given a small and sometimes shrinking municipal fiscal base, and existing service backlog, how is it possible to fashion viable urban policies and delivery for a growing number of new urban residents? That is according to Professor Simon Bekker, co-editor with Göran […]

  • Who’s driving Accra’s future?

    Despite its growing economy, Accra’s local government has struggled to finance the planning and management of its housing and infrastructure needs, which has pushed national government to turn to private sector-facilitated development. New hotels, office buildings and commercial high-rises are cropping up in the city, particularly in high-end and commercially attractive areas, including around the […]

  • High-rise challenges to constructing a city’s identity

    The Quality of Life 2011 survey, conducted biannually by the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO), was presented at University of the Witwatersrand on 23 July. The survey found overall quality of life increased slightly despite global economic recession, with government delivery as driver. But core challenges appeared to be of the intangible type that are less […]

  • African architectures: Cazenga and urban redevelopment

    What should a contemporary African city look like, and what kinds of practices should it cater for? This question lies at the heart of discussions about the redevelopment of Cazenga, one of Luanda’s most well-known musseque areas. While planners argue that they will improve the quality of life of Cazenga’s inhabitants, the residents are worried […]

  • Private development vs. the public interest

    Across Cairo public service institutions are deteriorating due to severe corruption in the last two decades. The slow collapse of the state throughout the years, leading up to the uprising of last year, entailed the mismanagement of institutions such as schools and hospitals. The Bulaq General Hospital is a prime example of how private interests […]

  • The aftermath of Makause’s shack fire

    …Eric Ndlovu described a blaze that was consuming shacks in minutes. “They caught fire so quickly, and just spread. You know petrol… when you extinguish it with water then you spread it around. People didn’t have enough water, or enough assistance in terms of extinguishing the fire.” The community told Daily Maverick that the fire engine […]

  • What future for Cairo’s satellite towns?

    When news of President Hosni Mubarak’s downfall first washed over the crowds in Tahrir Square, protesters began to jostle in front of the watching TV cameras and hold aloft handmade signs. Amid a thicket of slogans, one stood out: “A kilo of meat costs 100 pounds, yet a square metre in Madinaty costs half a […]