Why focusing on ‘New Towns’ will not address the African Urban crises
Seth Asare Okyere
Even though the African continent as a whole is still considered to be largely rural, it is experiencing a rapid urbanization phenomenon. This, coupled with limited planning capacity has culminated in a certain urban crisis of congestion, informal housing, and pollution. Attempts to address the problem has led to ‘new town’ solutions and other mega projects based on the premise of sustainability and green technologies. This note asserts that such solutions lack context and orientation to the needs of the majority poor urban population. Thus, a collaborative people-centered approach that integrates the peculiarities of African urbanization is recommended. Again, the focus should be on confronting existing problems in the city before ‘New Town’ solutions are sought.
SETH ASARE OKYERE is a development planner and holds an MSc in Urban Planning and Policy Design from the Politecnico di Milano. He is currently a doctoral researcher working on residents’ positive socio-spatial practices and living experiences in urban informal settlements in La, Ghana. His interests are in development planning, informal urbanism, pro-poor urban development policy and management.