This panel intends to reflect critically and from the Right to the City standpoint on the underlying urban paradigms of recent interventions in semi-urbanized housing suburbs of African cities, taking into account the contexts, processes and actors involved that influence them.
In the beginning of the new millennium, for the first time in history, the majority of the world population lives in cities. This rapidly urbanizing world is expressed in new territorial configurations, more or less segregated, with an increseing extension of suburban areas, more pronounced in developing countries. Africa still remains mainly rural, but it is foressen that half of its population will be urban in 2015 and currently about 25% of a billion of city dwellers who live in housing suburbs are Africans. Following the 'reflexivity' concept, the new human and territorial scale of these housing suburbs leads inevitably to new "ways of thinking urbanism" paraphrasing Le Corbusier. Beyond the dominant thought, normative, functionalist and top down, now also neoliberal, forged in the construction of the urbanized cities, new perspectives and new paradigms of intervention emerge in the suburban areas, more interactive and inclusive, which incorporate the Right to the City concept. There isn't a systematic, reflexive and critical approach to the types of recent interventions in the suburbs and to the underlying urban paradigms, from urban renovation, massive relocation and social housing, to urban re-conversion, regularization or upgranding. Which types of intervention predominate in the last decades in the African suburbs? This panel aims to reflect, from different case studies in African cities, on recurring heuristics trends and concepts that guide interventions in semi-urbanized housing suburbs, on types of interventions, and on underlying urban paradigms, having in consideration their specific contexts, processes and actors invoved.