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Centre of African Studies

African City seminar series

Africa is experiencing an unprecedented urban growth. It is estimated that between 2005 and 2030, the urban population of sub-Saharan Africa will double and more than half of the total population will be urbanised.

While African cities become more and more important internationally, as nodal economic centres of production and exchange, the rapid and often uncontrolled urban expansion poses many challenges. Existing urban infrastructures are usually inadequate to respond to the demographic pressure, adding precariousness to urban livelihoods. Informal settlements are growing and governments often don’t have the resources and capacities to cope with  these challenges and development interventions often prove to be inadequate to address the many socio-political and economic issues.

All these issues are increasingly addressed by academic research on Africa, in all kinds of disciplines. The African city has become the scene of extensive anthropological literature, socio-political analyses and economic studies.

The Centre of African Studies, as part of its African Seminar series, is organising four seminars on the African city to look at some of the issues that are addressed by scholars of the University of London, in different disciplines. The seminars will focus on some of the issues within the broad topics of urbanisation, urban governance and the city as a centre of innovation and cultural activity.

Programme

9 February

What do we know about urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa and why does it matter?
Deborah Potts, King’s College

Dr Deborah Potts, Cities Research Group, Geography Department, King's College London
Discussant: Michael Walls, Development Planning Unit, UCL

23 February

Urbanisation without infrastructure in African cities: Who fills in the gap?
Adriana Allen, DPU (UCL)
Discussant: tbc

1 March

Participatory governance in African cities
Dr Barbara Lipietz, Development Planning Unit, UCL and Sue Parnell, Professor of Geography at the University of Cape Town and director of ‘CityLab’ at UCT’s African Centre for Cities

7 March

Framing the African City: The Kenya International Film Festival (KIFF) as Mediascape
Dr Lindiwe Dovey, School of oriental and African Studies 
Discussant: Dr Carli Coetzee