Cityscapes #2: Inside “the world class city”

Publlisher: Tau Tavengwa & ACC Publication Date: 2012

In case you missed the first issue, a brief introduction, courtesy of the magazine’s consulting editor, Edgar Pieterse: “Cityscapes is a continuous adventure in trying to decipher the emergent cities of the global south. The magazine understands that with a constant overflow of dynamics and meaning, it is best to operate in the zone of juxtaposition, contrast, typology, irony and creative critique.”

The cover of issue two features a portrait of Sushma Prasad, an assistant clerk in the Cabinet Secretariat Department in Patna, capital city of the state of Bihar in eastern India. The work, by Dutch photographer Jan Banning, establishes the tone for the two contrary dynamics explored in this issue: bureaucratic inertia and world-class aspirations.

Featured in this issue is an in-depth look at Johannesburg’s aspirations to be a “world-class city,” by journalist Kim Gurney, as well as a complimentary look at developments in Bangalore, India. Rahul Mehrotra, an Indian architect and chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University, expands the magazine’s interested enquiry into lessons from the Indian sub-continent.

Also in this issue: Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina on a speculative new city outside Nairobi; Kerwin Datu, editor-in-chief of The Global Urbanist; narrative journalist Kevin Bloom; Congolese filmmaker Djo Tunda wa Munga; and Sean O’Toole on Ryszard Kapuściński. Kenyan journalist Rasna Warah interviews the Mayor of Mogadishu: “You are talking of planning in a city that did not have a single broom for cleaning the streets,” says Nur.

 

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