Technology plays a central role in the making of African cities. How is technology shaping urban spaces and identities in Africa? And how does urban life on the continent shape technology and innovation?
The wicked problems of Africa cities are often formulated as problems of technology; lacking infrastructure, lacking qualified personnel to repair and maintain systems of communication, mobility, housing, health or trade. Solutions have conventionally been formulated as a need to apply and implement expertise and technological systems from elsewhere in order to make up for a technological deficit. More recently, researchers have begun to focus not on the technologies that are said to be lacking but on the technologies that are actually in use and which have shaped the development and everyday lives in Africa's diverse urban spaces. New and important questions are been asked about "local" innovation, "creolization" of imported technologies, maintenance, reuse and sustainability and not least about the role of technologies in the making of urban identities and forms of expertise and entrepreneurship. The burgeoning interest and growing literature has been interdisciplinary from the outset spanning across history, anthropology, geography, urban studies, STS and beyond. The panel aims to contribute to establishing a solid platform for this important interdisciplinary debate and invites papers that address the theoretical as well as empirical questions about urbanity and technology in Africa.