Cityscapes #7: Futurity — Out Now!!

The seventh and latest edition of Cityscapes is framed around the rubric of “futurity”. What will tomorrow be like?

It will be more urbanised. It will also, agree various contributors, bear the imprimatur of China. “Whatever the case, China has, for now, become a far more prominent actor than others in the future-making of Africa,” asserts philosopher Achille Mbembe in an anchoring essay, “to the point where Africa is now not only a planetary question … but also and more specifically a Chinese question.” Contributors Philip Harrison, Yan Yang, Tanya Pampalone and Mary Anne Fitzgerald expand and complicate this assertion.

As in past issues, this issue includes penetrating discussions with key administrators and theorists. AbdouMaliq Simone asks anthropologist Filip De Boeck about his on-going project about new urban extensions in Kinshasa. We also interview Alfredo Garay, one of Latin America’s most influential urbanists, and Parks Tau, executive mayor of Johannesburg. “We need to start talking about the future, and specifically, what sort of future are we building,” states Tau. “And that future has to be about greater equity, in cities that have been defined by disparity.”

The difficult task of remaking Africa’s cities is also the focus of an editorial by respected journalist and author Robert Neuwirth. “Planners and architects seem to have a nasty little habit: they collude with developers and politicians to make every city look like every other city,” provocatively writes Neuwirth. “The pressure to rationalize the often irrational ways in which African cities have developed is built into their DNA.”

Technology, that panacea of technocrats and sci-fi geeks, is also discussed: in a long-form feature investigating what went wrong with the City of Tshwane’s move to adopt a smart metering system to vend electricity, and a discussion between two renowned authors working in speculative and science-based fiction genres. “What does science fiction have going for it that makes it easy for people to get sucked into?” wonders Nnedi Okorafor, a Nigerian-American novelist, in an exchange with South African writer Lauren Beukes. “This is something working scientists need to learn.”

The issue includes interviews with scholars Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer, who spent five years researching informal marketplaces globally, and showcases photographic essays by Filipe Branquinho, Jason Larkin, Lindokuhle Sobekwa and Graeme Williams. THE EDITORS



Cover Art: From EXO: The Adventures of Wale Williams. By Roye Okupe. © YouNeek Studios

Sammy Baloji is a photographer based in Lubumbashi

Filipe Branquinho is a photographer based in Maputo

Marcelo Corti is an architect and urban planner based in Buenos Aires

Sylvia Croese is a sociologist based in Stellenbosch

Teddy Cruz is an architect and urban scholar based in San Diego

Caroline Shannon de Christo is an architect and policy expert based in Rio de Janeiro

Pedro Henrique de Cristo is a designer and policy expert expert based in Rio de Janeiro

Filip De Boeck is an anthropologist and researcher based in Leuven

Mary Anne Fitzgerald is a journalist and writer based in Nairobi

Fonna Forman is a political scientist based in San Diego

Maarten Hajer is a scholar based in Utrecht

Philip Harrison is a development planner and scholar based in Johannesburg

Alcinda Honwana is a youth expert and scholar based in London

Kilian Kleinschmidt is a humanitarian expert based in Vienna

Jason Larkin is a photographer based in London

Patrick Latimer is an illustrator based in Cape Town

Megan Lindow is a writer based in Cape Town

Lesley Lokko is an architectural scholar based in Johannesburg

Achille Mbembe is a philosopher and scholar based in Johannesburg

Robert Neuwirth is an author based in New York

Tolullah Oni is a medical doctor, epidemiologist and scholar based in Cape Town

Joshua Palfreman is a waste management expert based in Dar es Salaam

Tanya Pampalone is a journalist and editor based in Johannesburg

Demian Rotbart is an architect and scholar based in Buenos Aires

AbdouMaliq Simone is an urban theorist and researcher based in Jakarta

Lindokuhle Sobekwa is a photographer based in Johannesburg

Yan Yang is a development scholar based in Johannesburg



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