Cities in developing countries have grappled with spatial planning, infrastructure, housing and, more recently, fragmented and “runaway” development. Spatial plans largely remain at a strategic level and less at the neighborhood scale, where there is a disjuncture between the envisioned urban layout and the actual development (Lwasa, 2013). The coupling of these multiple challenges has rendered planning a failure, resulting in a continued organic development of “informal” cities with diverse infrastructure and services that contrast with centralized systems used as the benchmark for measuring progress of a formal city. In this article, I postulate that the “informal city” is actually the city. Continue reading →
Jude Ndzifon Kimengsi, Catholic University of Cameroon
Solange Akhere Gwan, University of Oslo, Norway
Elinge Lyonga Emmanuel, Buea City Council, Cameroon
In 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon stated that, “with more than half of the world’s population living in cities today, we are indeed living in an urban century.” Indeed, urbanization is occurring rapidly in the developing world, where cities gain an average of 5 million residents every month (UN-Habitat, 2009). The most visible effect of urban expansion is discernible at the peri-urban environment. In developing countries, peri-urban areas are characterized by fast population growth, a mixture of planned and unplanned settlements, inadequate service infrastructures, environmental and health problems. These present a significant challenge to planners as they struggle to ensure a harmonious development of this zone.