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Simone for the city yet to come

For the City Yet to Come: Changing African Life in Four Cities


Duke University Press, Durham, N.C.



Countering a large body of work by government officials and urban planners that measures the success of African cities by how well they align with traditional narratives of development, Simone argues that these cities are sites of functioning or provisional economies as well as deep social networks. The study of this existing knowledge might “act as a platform for the creation of a very different kind of sustainable urban configuration than we have yet to generally know.” He presents four urban cases: the “informal” highlights social collaborations in Pikine, a large suburb of Dakar, Senegal; the “invisible” describes acts of collective resistance to government-sponsored developments in Winterveld, near Pretoria, South Africa; the “spectral” looks at how the city is imagined through the erection of a public sculpture assembled from found material in Douala, Cameroon; and “movement” focuses on the migration of people in and out of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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