AFRICAN PERSPECTIVES 2009 : ‘the African City Centre (re)sourced’

AFRICAN PERSPECTIVES 2009, the third international conference in the series to be hosted in Africa, will focus on the unique and diverse character of the African City as resource, as well as resourcing the city.

What started as a one-off event in Tanzania in 2005 under the title 'Modern Architecture in East Africa around Independence' was followed up by the 'African Architecture Today' congress in Kumasi, Ghana in 2007. During the African Perspectives event at the Delft University of Technology in December 2007, it has been decided by a group of institutes to establish the series into a bi-annual event hosted on the African continent focusing on urbanism and architecture of the continent.

'the African City Centre (re)sourced' carries multiple meanings, which are translated into three themes:

* the African City Centre in a contemporary global context

African cities are currently amongst the fastest growing in the world. Western and Eastern societies are reviewing the form, processes and roles of the post-industrial era in the looming shadow of global warming and global economic stress. African cities are more often than not the places where products or processes, which are now unacceptable in a post industrial environments or which can be obtained more cost-effectively in Africa, occur to feed the insatiable need for growth in the 24/7 global economy. These include large scale exploitation of unprocessed resources and industrial production with accompanying large scale negative impact on the natural environment, lack of local beneficiation and appropriate infrastructure delivery as well as unsustainable and exploitative labour practice. Where evolution of Western and Eastern development will leave the African City is uncertain. However, African Cities are participating in the global economy and global culture. It is necessary to understand the role of African cities in the contemporary global context, how they are resourced and resourcing themselves, to what extent African cities have evolved individual patterns of form, growth and survival, and what the role of the African Diaspora may be in the development of African Cities. With this, the role of the City Centre as a source of the City, in the ecology of resourcing the City and its manifestations in terms of urban processes, form and architecture is explored vis-à-vis the above mentioned identity of African Cities.

* the (historical) identity of the African City Centre

African Cities have many identities. Many have existed through a vast depth of time. Others were Colonial creations. Some are hybrids. Within these formations the African City Centre also has many identities. The City Centre's past and future lives were and are determined by culture in general; encompassing ritual, work, recreation and dwelling, all within a larger urban, regional and global network of connectiveness. What can be said and shown of the historical and contemporary cultural identities of the African City Centre, and how does this manifest in urban form, process, pattern, place and architecture?

* the future life of the African City Centre

The African City manifests a strong developmental and/or survival instinct. Through an understanding of past and current identities and (re)sources of the African City Centre, what directions and solutions may be postulated and formulated for the desired sustainable future of the African City Centre? What can be said about desired, sustainable and appropriate urban patterns, processes, form and architecture, seen on a local, regional and global scale?

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