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Old Posted May 31, 2013, 5:09 PM
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Article about new Urban Developments in Africa

Interesting article analyzing the new foreign funded developments across Africa. Offers some good criticism to some of the trends that have been taking place on the continent.

That’s the term being used by urban scholars to describe the continent’s next urban phenomenon: Comprehensively planned, independent, relatively self-contained communities, usually built from scratch, and large enough to provide within their borders housing, public facilities, socio-cultural opportunities and employment for their residents.

Some scholars have gone so far as to call the New Cities “urban villages,” distinguishing them from a “normal” city that gradually grows and evolves over time. New City projects emerging in Africa are planned urban areas, usually on the periphery of an older city, designed to meet their own residential, commercial, industrial and retail needs. The concept is not a novel one. Over a century ago, Sir Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities were an attempt to create new modern cities to right the wrongs of London during the 20th century. Ebenezer’s concept is now being applied in Africa, albeit under new and complex conditions. But of concern is that, with so many New Cities already in the pipeline, still no one knows what their impact will be. A vast urban experiment is underway, with not nearly enough study or forethought as to how these places will affect the economies, environments and lives of people who will live both in and outside of them.

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. The list of projects continues to grow as other African cities jump on the bandwagon. This trend in urban development calls for empirical diagnosis and analysis of the opportunities, challenges and implications of these emerging urban forms.
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