This volume illuminates the complex and constantly shifting social dynamics of African city making and human survival today. It explores how African urban dwellers have had to find not only effective ways of pursuing their livelihoods and other aspirations within cities but also ways of managing their interactions with often more powerful economic and political interests that seek to impose particular uses of urban space.
Amidst very different socio-cultural contexts in Dakar, Addis Ababa, Cape Town, Kisangani, Jos, Zaria, Cairo and Marrakesh, the research in this volume focuses on the diverse ways Africans negotiate novel spatial practices, political-economic processes, and social relations that entangle place, identity and power in urban sites. While historically familiar patterns linking countryside and city remain, these are constantly being reworked as African agency gives life to highly diverse urban formations which are further fashioned through the geographically uneven dynamics of globalization that articulate with locally specific histories, cultural practices, and political contingencies.
The result is an emphasis in Africa on city making through fluid and rapidly changing institutional structures, informal agreements, and finding innovative ways to interweave various sectors and actors. Urban change, as a consequence, is not a process easily managed.