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Africa's Urban Revolution

Africa's Urban Revolution

Doctor Edgar Pieterse | Susan Parnell



The facts of Africa’s rapid urbanisation are startling. By 2030 African cities will have grown by more than 350 million people and over half the continent's population will be urban. Yet in the minds of policy makers, scholars and much of the general public, Africa remains a quintessentially rural place. This lack of awareness and robust analysis means it is difficult to make a policy case for a more overtly urban agenda. As a result, there is across the continent insufficient urgency directed to responding to the challenges and opportunities associated with the world’s last major wave of urbanisation. Drawing on the expertise of scholars and practitioners associated with the African Centre for Cities, and utilising a diverse array of case studies, Africa's Urban Revolution provides a comprehensive insight into the key issues - demographic, cultural, political, technical, environmental and economic - surrounding African urbanisation.
'Provides policy makers with much-needed information as well as various avenues through which to improve cities for future generations.' Africa At LSE '[A]n excellent review of the challenges facing African cities.' Journal of Retracing Africa 'Africa's Urban Revolution provides a fascinating look, both empirically and theoretically, at an eclectic mix of contemporary urban issues in Africa. Promoting long-term planning that directs and informs African urbanisation is the key message of the authors. This book is a must-read for scholars of the urban South.' Professor Ronnie Donaldson, Stellenbosch University 'Africa's Urban Revolution is a cutting-edge, insightful book that contains important contributions from some of the leading urban researchers in Africa. Informed by theory and practice, the book makes a major statement about future urban possibilities for the African region.' Professor Richard Grant, Director of Urban Studies, University of Miami 'This book provides a powerful antidote to the argument that urbanisation in Africa is not worthy of attention from urban scholars and global policy makers. It does so, in rich detail, over a wide array of crucial themes across the continent's cities. In novel ways and with robust style, the authors offer an invaluable new gold standard text for the growing field of African urban studies.' Garth A. Myers, Distinguished Professor of Urban International Studies, Trinity College, Hartford 'A welcome and vital addition to a burgeoning field.' Africa Research Institute
Susan Parnell is an urban geographer in the Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT). She is centrally involved in the African Centre for Cities, serving on its executive. Edgar Pieterse is holder of the South African Research Chair in Urban Policy. He is director of the African Centre for Cities and professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, both at the University of Cape Town. He is the author of, amongst other books, City Futures: Confronting the crisis of urban development (Zed Books, 2008).

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Front cover Front cover
About the editors i
Title iii
Copyright iv
Contents v
Figures, tables and box vii
Acknowledgements ix
1 Africa’s urban revolution in context 1
So what if Africa is urban? 2
Notes 16
References 16
2 Conflict and post-war transition in African cities 18
Introduction 18
Three forms of conflict and their implications for urban areas 19
African cities in the midst of sovereign and civil conflict 21
Post-war urbanism 25
Conclusions 30
Notes 31
References 31
3 Sub-Saharan African urbanisation and global environmental change 35
Introduction 35
Global environmental change: trends and predictions for Africa 36
Defining and deciphering African urbanisation and migration 42
Conclusion: growth, mobility and displacement under conditions of environmental change 52
Note 54
References 54
4 Linking urbanisation and development in Africa’s economic revival 60
Introduction 60
A bleak urban future? 62
Favourable economic prospects? 63
The need for diversification 65
The role of geography and urbanisation 67
A resource curse for urban areas? 70
Can cities help build more integrated economies? 71
Measuring the relationship between urbanisation and growth 73
Evidence from Africa 75
Conclusion 77
Notes 79
References 79
5 Religion and social life in African cities 82
Introduction 82
Perspectives on social change 83
Religion in context 85
Religion in African cities 93
Conclusion 100
Notes 102
References 103
6 Feeding African cities: the growing challenge of urban food insecurity 110
Introduction 110
Methodology 115
Levels of food insecurity in poor urban neighbourhoods 117
Incomes and food access 121
Food sourcing 123
Conclusion 127
Acknowledgements 128
Note 128
References 128
7 Transport pressures in urban Africa: practices, policies, perspectives 133
Transport and travel: practices and policies 133
Perspectives on urban transport: evidence, conscience, imagination 140
Notes 144
References 145
8 Decentralisation and institutional reconfiguration in urban Africa 148
Introduction 148
Institutional underpinnings of the African urban crisis 149
Institutional reform agenda for Africa 154
Conclusion 163
Notes 164
References 164
9 The challenge of urban planning law reform in African cities 167
Introduction 167
Questions that need answers 170
Who thinks that planning laws should change? 172
The importance of planning law in Africa 173
Going forward: can planning law reform be improved? 176
Conclusion 181
Acknowledgements 182
Notes 182
References 182
10 The education and research imperatives of urban planning professionals in Africa 184
Introduction 184
The state of planning systems in Africa 185
The state of professional planning in Africa 188
The imperatives of planning practice in Africa 190
The case study methodology in research and education 192
Conclusion 197
Note 198
References 198
11 Filling the void: an agenda for tackling African urbanisation 200
Drivers of urban failure 202
Taking action 204
Building blocks of a new urban practice 207
Taking this agenda forward 216
Conclusion 218
Notes 219
References 219
12 Infrastructure, real economies and social transformation: assembling the components for regional urban development in Africa 221
Introduction: development through infrastructure 221
The challenges of urban ‘real’ economies 224
The dilemmas of ‘real’ governance 227
Conceptualising a way forward 230
Conclusion 234
References 236
13 National urbanisation and urban strategies: necessary but absent policy instruments in Africa 237
Introduction 237
A discredited legacy: national urbanisation and urban strategy failure and omission 239
Imperatives for a new generation of national urbanisation and urban policies 248
Conclusion: opportunities and scope for national urbanisation and urban policies 252
Box 13.1. Seven arguments for a national urban strategy to complement and reinforce essential action at the local scale 253
References 254
14 Urbanisation as a global historical process: theory and evidence from sub-Saharan Africa 257
Economic and demographic theories of urbanisation 259
Towards a historical theory of world urbanisation 261
Geography, colonialism and early urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa 266
Urbanisation and urban growth in the postcolonial era 269
Conclusion 274
Appendix 275
Acknowledgements 280
Notes 280
References 281
Postscript: Building new knowledge and networks to foster sustainable urban development 284
Past trends: thinking and perspectives in 2008–09 285
Current trends: thinking and perspectives in 2012–13 286
Future trends: thinking and projected perspectives for 2030 286
Persisting challenges 287
Now what? 287
Critical considerations: looking forward 288
References 293
Contributing authors 294
Index 300
About Zed Books 310
Back cover Back cover