African Cities

Alternative Visions of Urban Theory and Practice

Garth Myers


This groundbreaking book shows how as African societies become increasingly urban they challenge prevailing theories and models of urban development.
In this groundbreaking book, Garth Myers uses African urban concepts and experiences to speak back to theoretical and practical concerns. He argues for a re-visioning - a seeing again, and a revising - of how cities in Africa are discussed and written about in both urban studies and African studies.

Cities in Africa are still either ignored - banished to a different, other, lesser category of not-quite cities - or held up as examples of all that can go wrong with urbanism in much of the mainstream and even critical urban literature. Myers instead encourages African studies and urban studies scholars across the world to engage with the vibrancy and complexity of African cities with fresh eyes.

Touching on a diverse range of cities across Africa - from Zanzibar to Nairobi, Cape Town to Mogadishu, Kinshasa to Dakar - the book uses the author's own research and a close reading of works by other scholars, writers and artists to help illuminate what is happening in and across the region's cities.

Author Bio

Garth Andrew Myers is Director of the Kansas African Studies Centre and Professor in the Departments of Geography and African/African-American Studies at the University of Kansas.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments 
  • Introduction 
  • 1. What if the Postmetropolis is Lusaka? 
  • 2. Postcolonial Cities 
  • 3. (I)n(f)ormal Cities 
  • 4. Governing Africa's Cities 
  • 5. Wounded City 
  • 6. Cosmopolitan Cities 
  • Conclusion 
  • References 
  • Index


'An audacious and inspiring work.'
David Richards, University of Stirling

'A significant contribution to the recent scholarly writing and research on cities in Africa.'
Martin J. Murray, Professor of Urban Planning, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

'This book is essential reading for planners and scholars and everyone else in between that wants to better understand contemporary urbanization in Africa.'
Richard Grant, Professor, Department of Geography and Regional Studies University of Miami 

'With precise attention to the heterogeneous histories that have shaped African cities, the diverse aspirations, agendas, and projects these cities have embodied, and to the range of geographies at work, Myers is able to specify the ways in which African cities crucially contribute to remaking understandings about cities in general.'
AbdouMaliq Simone, Goldsmiths, University of London

'By including lessons from the multifaceted diverse, complex and unpredictable experience of African cities and urban societies, Myers opens up new realms of inquiry and interpretation in urban studies.'
Mamadou Diouf, Leitner Family Professor of African Studies and History, Columbia University

'This is a fascinating book that usefully contributes to a slow growing body of knowledge in the field of the informal African city.'
Ronnie Donaldson, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


Publication Date: 14 April 2011
256 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848135093
Hardback: 9781848135086
eBook ePub: 9781780321332
eBook PDF: 9781848135109
eBook Kindle: 9781780322452

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