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.
Brigit Obrist, Veit Arlt, Elisio Macamo (Eds.): Living the City in Africa. Processes of Invention and Intervention (Schweizerische Afrikastudien - Etudes africaines suisses, Vol 10). Lit-Verlag 2013.