Brigit Obrist, Veit Arlt and Elísio Macamo (Eds.): Living the City in Africa. Processes of Invention and Intervention
Research on cities worldwide still takes its cue from cities in Europe and the United States, which are seen as the standard model. However, cities in the global South are undergoing a much more rapid transformation including multiple interlinked transitions, with Africa featuring the highest urbanization rates world-wide. Scholars therefore call for a new approach to urban studies which examines cities from a more global, comparative perspective. This new approach pays added attention to the role societal creativity plays in processes of urbanization, instead of concentrating exclusively on expert-driven planning and intervention.
Especially in fast-growing cities with weaker institutional capacity for interventions, the interplay between intervention and invention, between expert and societal agency, becomes more tangible and all the more significant. This raises the question as to what potential lies hidden at this interface, how it can be exploited for future city development and also what we can learn from the fastgrowing and institutionally often weak African cities. The fifteen chapters in this volume focus on politics, transnational urbanism, urban moves and creativity in cities on the continent and thus ask questions as to what the characteristics of living the city in contemporary Africa are, and how they can be explained.
The editors are scholars at the Centre for African Studies Basel. Brigit Obrist is a professor of Social Anthropology, Elísio Macamo is a sociologist and professor for African Studies, while Veit Arlt coordinates the Centre. The chapters of this volume emerged from a conference convened for the Europe Africa Group of Interdisciplinary Studies AEGIS.