African Urbanism with Chinese Characteristics?
American Association of Geographers annual meeting
April 5-9 2017, Boston, MA
Session organizers: Seth Schindler (University of Sheffield, UK) and Tom Goodfellow (University of Sheffield, UK)
China’s longstanding relationship with Africa has intensified in recent years, and this session focuses on the influence this has had on African cities. While there is an emergent body of scholarship on China-Africa relations, most of this research has focused on geopolitics, foreign aid and investment, rural land acquisition and resource extraction. While there has been scant research on the influence that this evolving relationship is having on African cities, a significant amount of Chinese investment in Africa is focused on urban infrastructure projects and Chinese migrants are increasingly visible in many African cities. This session focuses on the mobility of Chinese planning norms, urban imaginaries, practices and people (Wu 2015; Shiqiao 2014), and their impacts on African cities. It asks whether the planning norms, imaginaries and practices that have emerged in China in the course of its “great urban transformation” (Hsing 2010) are more appropriate for African cities than their EuroAmerican counterparts, or if they amount to “urban fantasies” that are destined to increase inequality (Watson 2014). It also seeks to focus on the mechanisms whereby these norms/imaginaries/practices are transferred. We welcome case studies from particular cities or projects that demonstrate the complexity of China’s role in the transformation of African cities, how Chinese investment/involvement is affecting everyday life, and how African planners and governments adapt Chinese planning know-how in particular contexts.
Please send abstracts to Seth Schindler (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Tom Goodfellow (email@example.com) by October 19.
Hsing, Y.-T. 2010. The Great Urban Transformation: Politics of Land and Property in China. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Shiqiao, L. 2014. Understanding the Chinese City. London: Sage.
Watson, V. 2014. African urban fantasies: dreams or nightmares? Environment & Urbanization 26(1): 215-231.
Wu, F. 2015. Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China. New York: Routledge.