'Unplanning' the Planned City: Lessons from Ouagadougou for African New Towns

Rachel Keeton

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    Abstract

    Following the emergence of neoliberal economic policies across the African continent, over the last three decades many African countries have seen a shift from state-led housing development to fully privatized development. Increasingly, this urban development takes the form of New Towns: master planned communities developed on greenfield sites. Because they are dependent on market-driven returns on investments, these privately-developed New Towns tend to ignore existing social and environmental realities and instead accommodate only the upper and middle classes in spatially segregated enclaves. Although this urban model has recently become more popular with both investors and politicians, it is not entirely new. As early as the 1980s, Dutch urban planner Coen Beeker was a vocal critic of developments in and around Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, which replaced vibrant traditional communities with both formally and demographically uniform developments. This paper argues for a re-examination of Beeker’s own methods and the reasons for the sustained popularity of the urban projects that he led.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Beeker Method
    Subtitle of host publicationPlanning and Working on the Redevelopment of the African City
    EditorsAntoni Folkers, Iga Perzyna
    Place of PublicationLeiden
    PublisherAfrican Studies Centre
    Pages141-146
    ISBN (Print)978-90-5448-160-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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