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PhD ceremony Ms. L.M.R. Beeckmans: Making the African city. Dakar - Dar es Salaam - Kinshasa, 1920-1980

When:Mo 21-01-2013 at 14:30

PhD ceremony: Ms. L.M.R. Beeckmans, 14.30 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Making the African city. Dakar - Dar es Salaam - Kinshasa, 1920-1980

Promotor(s): prof. A. van der Woud

Faculty: Arts

In her PhD thesis, Luce Beeckmans analyses the African city from a comparative perspective. By means of three case studies, the historical development between 1920 and 1980 of three cities in sub-Saharan Africa, Dakar (Senegal), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Kinshasa (Congo), is being compared.

In the volume Editing the City the process of urban planning in Africa is taken into consideration. Since Western urban planners designed almost all of the African plans, we can definitely see the influence of urban planning trends that come from elsewhere in the world. However, we also find that the African context led to specific modifications to these urban plans. Editing the City demonstrates how urban planning models and concepts imported from the West were “edited” to serve ideological agendas, in particular with respect to segregation. The volume Making the City begins by observing that the African city depicted in urban plans rarely coincided with the real African urban space, often a wide gap existed between the theory of urban design, with its corresponding discourse, and the actual implementation. This discrepancy sheds light on the role played by those from outside the urban planning milieus in the production of urban space. In this thesis, we bring to light how both local governments and city dwellers influenced the production of urban space by, for instance, forcing adjustments to the urban designs, hindering their implementation or appropriating urban spaces. It was exactly by these processes of agency that segregation often turned out far more complex and layered within the urban spaces than in the urban plans.

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