From the Editors

In this issue we rub two contrary dynamics—bureaucratic inertia and world-class aspirations—against each other to open up worlds of dreams, banality, ambition


An End to Big Oil?

The current steel-and-petroleum car system cannot endure, with a number of different scenarios looming on the immediate horizon


An Incomplete Conversation

While the African mobile revolution is widely heralded, little attention has been given to fibre-optic and public Wi-Fi infrastructure, complementary technologies that play essential roles in urban development


A Criminal Opportunity

Africa’s growing number of megacities will over time prove attractive bait to criminal elites and grafters who engage in grand corruption


Endurance, not Survival

In cities where a significant proportion of the population has historically relied upon their own initiatives, the concept of endurance is an important strategy for connecting seemingly dissimilar experiences


Mobility Lessons From Big Data

Big data, much of it generated by smartphone-equipped city residents, is fundamentally changing the way we understand, plan and operate urban mobility systems


Remaking Kigali

Underwritten by President Paul Kagame and adopted by Rwanda Parliament in 2008, the Kigali Conceptual Master Plan is an overarching guide for transforming Rwanda’s capital into a regional financial, business and entertainment centre for East Central Africa

Killian Doherty


Palestine’s First Planned City

The hilltop city of Rawabi is Qatar’s gift to the people of Palestine at a time of uncertainty

Joseph Dana


The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

Remembering a failed modernist social housing project in film and soft sculpture

Tau Tavengwa


The Filmmaker

Satyajit Ray was a complex and contradictory figure, but in his capacity to engage with the inner lives of many different types of people and to find the right expression for them he has emerged as one of cinema’s most universally appealing directors

Jai Arjun Singh


Poetic Governace

Theaster Gates is a Chicago-based artist with concurrent qualifications in urban planning, religious studies and ceramics. He talks to Clare Butcher about spending time in Cape Town and the acute point of transgression offered by his practice of place making.

Clare Butcher


Things We Don’t or Can’t Notice

Novelist Imraan Coovadia talks about poetry, fish, not having fun as a writer and the appropriateness of South Africa’s minibus taxi industry as a subject for literary fiction

Sean O'Toole


Rewriting the City

São Paulo’s ubiquitous graffiti and pixação are subverting notions of power and authorship in relation to the production of urban public texts

Teresa P. R. Caldeira


The Scopic Regimes of Urban Neglect

We are living in an era marked by many dystopian visions of the future, says distinguished urbanist Ash Amin. Upending them will require work, he tells Matthew Gandy in a wide-ranging discussion that also assesses the contemporary neglect of the urban poor, their infrastructural rights, as well as the use of big data and smart technology in managing cities

Matthew Gandy


Bridging the Divide

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city, will shortly stage two of the world’s largest sporting events. The city is modernising in anticipation, employing sophisticated management technologies and unusual transportation mechanisms. Unavoidably, given the immense expenditure and quixotic nature of some of the infrastructure projects, questions have arisen: at what cost, and for whose benefit? We spotlight ten projects that might just offer answers

Julie Ruvolo


The Labours of Mister Fashola

Babatunde Raji Fashola is the thirteenth governor of Lagos State and de facto mayor of the city of Lagos, one of the largest urban areas in the world. His initiatives have included investing in primary education, widening streets and tackling crime and infrastructural dysfunction, activities that have seen this soccer-loving former lawyer hailed as a “rare example” of a civic leader

Ore Disu


Kibera: Nairobi’s Other City

Kibera is a large informal settlement located five kilometres from Nairobi’s city centre. Its urban form is familiar across Africa, but Kibera’s history is culturally particular and personal to Kenya. We meet Millicent Auma Otieno, a local resident whose story tells a larger tale.

Caroline Wanjiku Kihato

Wide Angle