Last month we launched Africa’s Urban Revolution, a new volume edited by Susan Parnell and Edgar Pieterse which seeks to process and understand the startling facts of Africa’s ongoing urbanisation. Those who missed out on our fantastic launch event in collaboration with Africa Research Institute need wait no longer.
In introducing his chapter – ‘Urbanisation as a global historical process’ – Sean Fox called into question the notion of an African ‘urban revolution’, arguing that urban growth across the continent is far less a result of mass migration from rural to urban areas, and more a result of decreased mortality rates and increased food security. The implications for this on development policy, he argued, are drastic.
In her contribution (4:40 onwards) Jo Beall, Director of Education & Society at the British Council, explained the thinking behind her chapter with Tom Goodfellow, ‘Conflict and post-war transition in African cities’. She discussed how she sought to avoid the tendency of urban, Africa and conflict scholars to focus solely on the noir, and instead to ask what really happens to different African cities in different kinds of conflict. In doing so she touched upon a wide range of case studies, which were then picked up during the open discussion with students, policy-makers and academics that followed.
To watch Susan Parnell, one of the book’s editors, discuss in detail some of the aims behind the volume as a whole, visit the Africa Research Institute’s YouTube channel.