Spatial challenges in contemporary African New Towns and potentials for alternative planning strategies

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New Towns in development across Africa are overwhelmingly designed according to twentieth-century planning models ranging from functionalist Chinese grids to American gated communities. Contemporary African New Towns based on these models are often unable to adapt to stimuli and, as a result, exacerbate both spatial and ecological challenges. The objective of this paper is to argue that African New Towns require a substantial shift from current practice and that planners must imagine new, hybrid planning strategies. This paper takes an exploratory approach and identifies the spatial challenges specific to contemporary African New Towns. Building on the argument that planning benefits from linkages between critical social theory and environmental science, this paper asserts that an adaptive urban planning approach that effectively engages citizens can be a more sustainable alternative to current practice. The paper concludes with implications for future research on the translation of challenges into potentials for African New Towns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-234
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Planning Studies
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Adaptive urban planning
  • Africa
  • New Towns
  • vulnerability

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    Supplementary data to African New Towns 1960-2018

    Keeton, R. E. (Creator) & Provoost, M. (Creator), TU Delft - 4TU Centre for research data, 2020


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