Urban Anecdote is currently working on the long-term project 'Urban Africa: A Handbook for New Planned Cities' with UN-Habitat and the International New Town Institute. The research was presented at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016. Research for the project also informed the INTI conference Urban Africa: New Strategies for the World's Fastest Urbanizing Continent in April, 2015. The results of the research are published in To Build a City in Africa: A History and a Manual (Nai010 Publishers, 2018), co-edited by Rachel Keeton and Michelle Provoost.
About the book:
Africa’s urban future is being decided at this very moment. It already exists in master plans, policies and financing models that we cannot see. Between 2010 and 2050, Africa’s urban population is projected to increase from 400 million to 1.26 billion. Moreover, African urbanization is projected to reach 50% around 2035. The major part of this urbanization will take place by means of informal and self-organized settlements if there is not a strong commitment to plan in advance. Over the last decade, informal urbanization has become a popular topic in scholarly work. But until now, very little has been published on the most recent generation of urban extensions, new towns and cities in Africa, despite the massive social, financial, ecological, and political implications of these new developments. This book intends to address that lack of debate by presenting in-depth case studies, comparative analysis and large data sets in a clear and visually engaging manner—making this information available to the public for the very first time.
To meet new urban requirements, many African governments are turning to large-scale private development as a way to decentralize urban amenities and spread employment into rural areas, accommodate the growing middle class and attract foreign capital, escape the challenges of overcrowded existing cities and sidestep gridlocked governance. Unfortunately, this approach also has many disadvantages, as established by the International New Town Institute’s extensive research on this topic . These disadvantages can include a reliance on car-based transit, homogenous demographics and segregation, increased criminality and social tensions over time, poor land and natural resource usage, and environmental degradation. While it is certainly true that the private sector is simply reacting to a market demand for greater security, more reliable services and better amenities, the International New Town Institute together with UN-Habitat argues that planned city extensions and new town developments can proceed in a format that is more compact, better integrated and connected, socially inclusive, resilient to climate change and human rights-based. With this book, we will analyze the shortcomings of the less successful approaches as well as provide concrete examples of good practices and innovative participatory planning strategies to achieve sustainable urban development. The final chapter will summarize a clear strategy for city-makers detailing guiding principles for sustainable cities in African context. Ultimately, the goal of this book is to improve the quality of life and achieve prosperity for urban dwellers across the African continent.