It is believed that Africa will host 13 out of the world’s largest cities by the end of the century. The World Bank believes that Urbanization will be “the single most important transformation that the African continent will undergo this century”, with over half of the population set to live in cities by 2040. This will manifest as 40,000 people move to cities every day for the next 20 years. The result will be the creation of nine “megacities” of more than 10 million people each, with the largest being Kinshasa, DR of Congo (35 million), Lagos, Nigeria (32 million) and Cairo, Egypt (24 million).
The architects, urban designers, and planners who oversee this development will be forced to confront social and environmental challenges such as urban sprawl, climate change, and infrastructure deficits. They also need to put in mind that 60% of urban dwellers in Africa live in slums. Studies by Arup’s Future Proofing City in nine cities across four countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Uganda. The challenge is already being met by studies such as Arup’s Future Proofing City studies, detailing the firm’s work in nine cities across four countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Uganda. Also, the Institute for Experimental Architecture at Bauhaus Universitat Weimer recently worked with the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture Building Construction and City Development to build three residential prototypes at a 1:1 scale for Addis Ababa, addressing the Ethiopian capital’s hyper-urbanization over recent years.
These experiments take advantage of indigenous building methods, construction technologies, and material use to create socially robust, open, and flexible spatial structures, which will be complimented by Africa’s embrace of technology. However, to achieve this reality; smart planning, investments and innovative thinking from politicians, urban planners, and architects is paramount. Funds are also required to meet basic infrastructure needs.