Colonial Legacies: Shaping African Cities

72 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2020

See all articles by Neeraj Baruah

Neeraj Baruah

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

J. Vernon Henderson

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Cong Peng

Harvard University

Date Written: September 1, 2020

Abstract

Institutions persisting from colonial rule affect the spatial structure and conditions under which 100’s of millions of people live in Sub-Saharan African cities. In a sample of 318 cities, Francophone cities have more compact development than Anglophone, overall, in older colonial sections, and at clear extensive margins long after the colonial era. Compactness covers intensity of land use, gridiron road structures, and leapfrogging of new developments. Why the difference? Under British indirect and dual mandate rule, colonial and native sections developed without coordination. In contrast, integrated city planning and land allocation were featured in French direct rule. These differences in planning traditions persist.

Keywords: Africa, Colonialism, Persistence, Sprawl, urban planning

Suggested Citation

Baruah, Neeraj and Henderson, J. Vernon and Peng, Cong, Colonial Legacies: Shaping African Cities (September 1, 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP15327, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3723516

Neeraj Baruah

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

J. Vernon Henderson (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Cong Peng

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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