Brimah, Muhammad al Najib. "The Future of African Cities," in ArchNet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 2, issue 2 (2008).
Too much time is spent nowadays analyzing the symptoms of urban problems in Africa, without looking at the root causes of those problems. This paper addresses the future of African cities from an African perspective. Urbanization in the context of the west is an aberration because its roots are found in the industrial development of the west. When an African speaks his native tongue, the whole street becomes his neighborhood plaza, playground and the market, even though the western method of planning did not make provision for this. When he speaks the foreign colonial language he only sees the street and not the plaza, the playground, the market or the rest of the neighborhood. From a purely ecological perspective, shanties and their inhabitants are a good example of the new, green urban metabolism. Despite their sanitary and security failings, they often have a social vibrancy and ecological systems that get lost in most planned urban environments.