African Urbanism


Challenging the formal/informal dichotomy

Ntombini Marrengane

The African Urban Research Initiative (AURI) is co-hosting a methods workshop from 6 to 10 May 2019, in Lusaka, Zambia, focused on the formal/informal interface at the city scale. The Formal-Informal Interface Workshop emerges from ongoing comparative research conducted under the umbrella of AURI which, aims at challenging the dichotomy between informal and formal areas, […]

Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda

Interpreting Kigali, Rwanda by Korydon H. Smith and Tomà Berlanda explores the pressing challenges and opportunities to be found in planning, designing, and constructing a healthy, equitable and sustainable city. Asking “what is an authentic-yet-modern, prosperous-yet-feasible African city, Rwandan city?” Smith, Berlanda and colleagues conducted research on Rwandan activities of daily living and how these routines […]

Call for abstracts: Representing urban life in Africa and its diasporas

Rike Sitas, Shari Daya

It is now widely acknowledged that cities are growing faster in Africa than almost any other region. As our urban populations are burgeoning, so urban art of all kinds is flourishing on the continent, as well as in African diasporas in the global North and South. However, analysed predominantly through developmentalist lenses, as problematic sites […]

Sophie Oldfield

Sophie Oldfield named as Distinguished Africanist Scholar

Sophie Oldfield

African Centre for Cities’ Sophie Oldfield, who holds the University of Cape Town and University of Basel Professorship in Urban Studies, has been named the 2018 Distinguished Africanist Scholar by the Institute for African Development at Cornell University (IAD). (more…)

New Urban Worlds

New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times

Polity Books has just published New Urban Worlds: Inhabiting Dissonant Times by AbdouMaliq Simone and Edgar Pieterse, which explores the emerging epicentres of global urbanisation. (more…)

Dear African Urbanists

Susan Parnell

Here is a chance to influence global urban policy (but please be quick) Many of you will be aware that the United Nations is busy assessing the Millennium Development Goals and defining a post 2015 Development Agenda. A key part of this is the selection of a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Importantly there […]

Train in Muizenberg.

Radical Incrementalism & Theories/Practices of Emancipatory Change

This workshop examines ideas of radical incrementalism across our towns and cities. It seeks to explore theories and practices that can support emancipatory change across urban regions through the power of urban dwellers to challenge poverty, oppression and unjust environments.

Susan Parnell discusses ‘Africa’s Urban Revolution’

Susan Parnell

An interview with Susan Parnell, Executive Member of the African Centre for Cities and Co-Editor of ‘Africa’s Urban Revolution’, published by Zed Books. Sue discusses informal settlements, the effects of global environmental change & the true economic potential of Africa’s cities.

Complicit masculinity on the African urban periphery

In her talk titled “Entrepreneurs and consumers: complicit masculinity on the African urban periphery”, Dr Jordanna Matlon will explore the relationship between masculinity and work in the double context of protracted economic and political crisis in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. She draws on participant observation fieldwork and interviews with men in Abidjan’s informal sector from 2008 to 2009, and is […]

Sub-Saharan Africa’s New Suburbs

Remaking the Edges: Sub-Saharan Africa’s New Suburbs — This paper examines the edge areas of Lusaka, based on fieldwork from 2013, as a broad example of the trajectory of urban expansion at the new urban frontiers in Sub-Saharan Africa. I emphasize four themes: (1) the significance of new foreign investment in urban frontier zones (particularly […]

OPEN CALL: Density Syndicate

Rike Sitas

The African Centre for Cities and the International New Town Institute are excited to announce an open call for participation in the Density Syndicate. The Density Syndicate is looking for dynamic Cape Town based urbanists (architects / urban designers / planners) to participate in three studios over the course of 2014.

Africa’s Urban Revolution edited by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse

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.

Rogue Urbanism — The reviews are in

A few notable reviews of Edgar Pieterse and AbdouMaliq Simone’s edited volume Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African Cities have popped up over the last few months. “Many contributions in the book reconstruct and lay bare class issues, producing the kinds of credible, socially-engaged accounts we badly need more of.” writes Guillermo Delgado in an article which appeared […]

Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African Cities

Rogue Urbanism is the outcome of a research exploration by the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town. It arises from the need to push forward a debate on how we can think and theorise the specificity of African cities. Its unique ambition is to produce new and relevant theoretical work […]

Imperatives for a holistic urban agenda

Reorienting a development agenda to accommodate the new African realities and its urban future is not as simple as it seems says Dr Sue Parnell in this presentation given at the UNHabitat “Take Off” Conference in Nairobi, December 2013

African Cities Reader II: Mobilities and Fixtures

Edgar Pieterse

The African Cities Reader II: Mobilities and Fixtures is the second installment of this biennial publication that brings together contributors from across Africa and the world to challenge the prevailing depiction of urban life on the continent and redefine cityness, Africa-style.

African Cities Reader

Discourses on urban development tend to dehumanise ordinary Africans by stripping them of the ingenuity it takes to simply survive and reproduce a sense of identity, community, belonging and aspiration that coincides with the conditions of poverty and exploitation.