Links and Flows in the Production of African Urban Space
Paper short abstract:
I use case studies from Zanzibar and Dakar to engage with urban theory by and inspired by Henri Lefebvre. I am arguing for a non-Eurocentric re-conceptualizing of Lefebvre's ideas, built from the experiences of cities in Africa with ideas of 'the village' and 'the suburb'.
Paper long abstract:
This paper works toward a non-Eurocentric conceptualization of planetary urbanism. I engage and critique relevant urban thought from Henri Lefebvre as well as the new wave of urban theorization inspired by Lefebvre's idea of complete, planetary urbanization. I argue that urbanization in Africa, largely absent from Lefebvre's works, presents new twists to what he would have called a theory of complexification. I use case studies from Zanzibar and Dakar to examine the production of urban nature over the last two centuries and the complex positionality and representation for ideas of 'the village' and 'the suburb' in these two urban contexts. I end with reflection on the implications of these cases for any claims for universalizing the 21st century's processes of urbanization and urbanism on the planet.
Boundaries, Links, and Flows: the Materiality and Political Meaning of Distinctions between Urban, Suburban, and Rural Africa