A Wave of 'New Cities' Are Poised to Transform Africa - For the Worse?

Jane Lumumba issues a warning about the self-contained cities being comprehensively planned and built from scratch across the continent. Will they benefit international investors and government leaders to the detriment of local residents?

Lumumba, a Nairobi-based urban practitioner, examines the 'New City' projects being planned for the periphery of several older African cities, which are being designed as "relatively self-contained communities" that will "meet their own residential, commercial, industrial and retail needs." 

"Nairobi will soon welcome Konza, already being hailed as Africa’s Silicon Valley, and Tatu City, a $2.8 billion USD project located just off the region’s new Thika Super-Highway. Just outside of Accra, Appolonia, nicknamed the “City of Light,” is a planned, mixed-use city that broke ground last year and is conceptualized as a 'work-live-play' community. Lagos is eyeing the construction of Eko Atlantic, a city for 400,000 built on land reclaimed from the ocean. And Lusaka, Zambia is welcoming Roma Park, a residential and commercial development being built on 118 hectares of greenfield."

"What is worrying is that there is little recognition of place, economy, context and even poverty in these cities," observes Lumumba. "This begs several questions. To whom do these cities belong? Who is planning them? Are they inclusive cities, or simply profit-driven businesses?"

The story of Angola's Nova Cidade de Kilamba, a new city built by a state-owned Chinese investment company that largely sits empty, is a cautionary tale.  

Full Story: Why Africa Should Be Wary of Its ‘New Cities’

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00