5 must-watch videos about urbanization in Africa

It’s unnecessary to say that African urban populations are growing and urbanisation is becoming one of the most important and highly topical concepts in the management of African cities. There are many books, reports and papers on African urban issues but less audiovisual material. Here’s a selection of the best videos from around the web.

The platform for African thought leaders Talking Heads produced, earlier this year, The Future of Africa Cities. In it, Prof. Edgar Pieterse, Director of the African Centre for Cities reflects on the theoretical and practical entanglements that rapid urbanization engenders for a precarious present, and a potential future in African Cities. He raises critical questions around sustainability, innovation, creativity, and knowledge production.

In 2013, UN-Habitat shot the documentary Upgrading the Slums for Better Cities. It tells the story of how cities in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific are tackling the slum challenge.

The last editor of Design Indaba, a multi-tiered platform committed to a better world through creativity, recently published Designing the future of urban Africa. In it, architect Issa Diabaté from Cote D’Ivoire explains how important it is to solve the urban problems Africa is facing through the lack of vision when it comes to urban planning on a political level.

In 2013, the CNBC Africa channel aired a special program called Future State of Africa’s Cities. In this televised debate three experts come together to discuss where African cities are going with the increase of the urban populations. They talk about the complexities, dynamics and management of slums, transport and other services, migration and pollution.


Recently, the Goethe-Institut presented its project African Metropolis. Six Stories from Six African Cities, a compilation of short fiction films, set in six major African cities. The films from Abidjan, Cairo, Dakar, Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi tell urban tales about life in African metropolises. Unfortunately, the films are not yet available online.

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2 Responses to “5 must-watch videos about urbanization in Africa”

  1. Pedro B. Ortiz

    Edgar Pieterse: Good presentation of problems. What about the solutions?
    Every year the problems grow by 5% (rate of growth of many African Metropolises) and will have doubled (100%) in 14 years. The mess we are leaving behind will take decades to be resolved.
    Solutions? Define a metropolitan framework for the future and produce your investments within that framework. Those frameworks can be produced in 6 months and not in 8 years. Contact.


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