Rethinking infrastructural development in the global south: mega-transport projects in Africa

Authors: Astrid Wood*, Newcastle University
Topics: Urban Geography, Development, Transportation Geography
Keywords: transport infrastructure, mega-infrastructure, global south, African cities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2020
Start / End Time: 5:35 PM / 6:50 PM
Room: Plaza Court 2, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper rethinks the widespread investment in world-class transport systems in hundreds of cities worldwide, and in particular African cities. While this proliferation is impressive – both in terms of the number of new transport systems as well as the money spent – this argument reconsiders the role of policy models to understand why so many policymakers from such a diversity of mega-scale localities turned their attention to transport. The research examines those material and nonmaterial features that attract policymakers in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Lagos, and in so doing reflects theoretically on the politics of urban infrastructure and its role in urban transformation on a mega-scale. Concepts from policy mobilities and critical urban theory will be used to critically unravel infrastructural development in the global south. These arguments will consider the role of infrastructure in the mobility of best practice and the influence of politics on the transformation of the largest of African cities.

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