From the editors

There is nothing ephemeral about a city, nor is there anything abstract about the consequences that flow from a poor design decision


Beat Down But Not Defeated

For Johannesburg’s many migrant women everyday life in the city is about mediating, melding and juggling the formal codes and unwritten street laws


A New Old Story

Architects and developers are scrambling to sell fantastical graphic visions of new satellite cities in the world’s so-called last property development frontier, Africa


Ridding design of its saviour complex

Cities are among the clearest of cases that design is never simply a technical process, and is not confined to those with the right credentials or the latest software


They Came At Night

Residents of Istanbul’s decades-old informal settlements have emerged as a political force to challenge Turkey’s new wave of urban development

Joseph Dana


Math & the City

Sergio Fajardo is the public face of change in the Colombian city of Medellín. He speaks about the origin and focus of his ambitious political project, which brought infrastructure, beauty and citizen entitlement to areas once ravaged by cocaine wars

Juan Diego Mejia


The Connection Paradox

For nearly a half-century, the Brazilian state, working with leading architects, has attempted to upgrade informal settlements in the country’s biggest cities. We look at the context of this large-scale project as well as the efforts in two of São Paulo’s largest favelas

Fernando Serapião


The City of Fragments

The Washington Post once, favourably we think, described Richard Sennett as a whirlwind of big ideas. In an exemplary demonstration of this skill, he talks about capitalist planning’s inclination towards tight-fitting solutions, the ongoing project of engendering a socialist city, coproduction versus designer-led urban interventions, and the need to think about cities visually rather than verbally

Richard Sennett & Ash Amin


Edge Design

We explore urban form and social change by comparing two majority black Cape Town neighbourhoods: Khayelitsha, a sprawling settlement on the city’s eastern periphery, and Dunoon, a post-apartheid neighbourhood located on a busy northern transport corridor. Both reveal a common ethos of self-built propositions. The citizen, it seems, is delivering the city

Kim Gurney


Delicious Monster

In 1975 an avant-garde shopping mall in Cape Town’s affluent southern suburbs opened and marketed itself as “the place for people”. Now derelict, the building’s failure and possible demolition is being fiercely debated

Sean O'Toole


Cliff or hairpin turn?

Life in Rio de Janeiro is up, but down; actually it’s both

Julia Michaels


The Feminist

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was the western-educated wife of a reverend whose son became one of Africa’s foremost musicians. A friend of Kwame Nkrumah, her transition from society lady to uncompromising champion of women’s rights and self-determination is also a story about the birth of modern Nigeria

Tanya Pampalone

Wide Angle