Cities Yet To Come
Bringing the future into focus is perhaps an impossible task, but bringing the futures of Africa’s cities into focus is nonetheless an urgent task.
In this process, our fantasies matter: the glossy brochures, the 3D renders, the intricate scale models, the pitch decks and also of course, our desires: even if disguised in the sober discourses of governance, management, engineering.
Too often the urban futures we desire are, in truth, someone else’s ill fitting fantasies, obsolete models; fossil-fuel soaked fossils.
In Africa, there is too often a violent disconnect between the borrowed urban fantasies of our political class and the urban realities of the majority who are, in their daily enterprises of survival, actually shaping the face of our cities.
So generated some urban fantasies of the near future to see what we recognise. Indeed, we need to confront the material realities of our urban fantasies – both our dreams and our nightmares.
Amitav Gosh claims, “those at the margins are now the first to experience the future that awaits all of us.” We understand that the margin is already wider than the page. Either one rewrites the story of future African cities in the idiom of contemporary youth-driven informality or one loses the plot. At Chicoco, we are working to change the plot, to imagine otherwise. Watch this space!
In the meantime, check out a presentation we produced for the African Centre for Cities using AI tools. We opened the African Infrastructure Futures conference with it. We live in the neighbourhoods of the future. Is the nightmare we imagined we wanted?