Projections of environmental change, as well as real estate development turning towards Africa leads to a new focus on urban waterfronts. Political visions may foster a more sustainable design and better consider the needs of the inhabitants. But they may also trigger green gentrification.
Waterfronts in African cities are often either fenced private lands, industrial zones or marginalised habitation on public land. Projections of environmental change (sea level rise, flooding, coastal erosion), as well as transnational real estate development turning towards Africa in search of new markets leads to a new focus on urban waterfronts. Political visions come to the forefront of how a sustainable and secure city should look. This process opens a political window of opportunity that may foster a new infrastructural design in order to be more sustainable and better meet the needs of the inhabitants. But it may also trigger speculative urbanism and further enhance economic segregation (green gentrification). In this context, social mobilization and citizenship become relevant issues. Urban development visions and public debates on waterfront development will be analysed by presenting a case of urban planning in Kenya and ethnographic case studies from Cameroon and Côte d´Ivoire. Arenas of social navigation and political debate will be explored to gain knowledge about the resources and repertoires of diverse interest groups, and their political influence.