“Africa is urbanising at a rate that will soon exceed that of any other region in the world. This provides a once-in-a-century opportunity to nudge the continent into a growth and consumption pattern that anticipates the future, rather than copying European and American cities of the last century. Instead of emulating Dubai in creating oil-dependent, sprawling cities, Africa has an opportunity to create something new: to learn from its strengths in informal trade and spontaneous organisation to create sustainable, equitable cities that are cheap to run and that work.
This is a tall order for any government, but Africa’s governments have more to lose than most from a business-as-usual approach, and so the stakes (and political will) are great. Below are ten New Towns to be built outside African business and political capitals. Their backers hope that each of these will be, in some small sense, a hub of innovation and job creation that, by their first-world standards and infrastructure, will lure investors who balk at the chaos and congestion of Lagos or the power cuts of Nairobi. Much depends on the outcome, but the real success of the cities below will be in demonstrating the value of high-density, sustainable patterns of land use, such that they are widely implemented in Africa’s burgeoning metropolises.”