International Planning History Society (IPHS)


Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning

University of Lisbon, Portugal



Colonial and postcolonial Urban Planning in Africa


Lisbon, 5-6 September 2013



According to the United Nations, around 40 percent of the African population lived in urban areas in 2009. Population living in these vibrant and complex cities,  different from one another in patterns, processes and functions, is expected to reach 60 percent in 2050 and to set important challenges to both central and local governments in the continent. The answer to these challenges seems to require above all systematic urban planning, as acknowledged recently by the director of UN-Habitat.


The Conference – Colonial and Postcolonial Urban Planning in Africa – aims to re-examine the history of colonial urban planning in Africa and its legacies in the post-independence period, to learn from contemporary African scholarship, and to discuss how postcolonial urban planning cultures can actually address these urban challenges and contribute effectively for the development of resilient - sustainable cities in Africa.


The Conference to be held in Lisbon, in September 2013, organized by the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning - University of Lisbon and the International Planning History Society (IPHS), will explore two key themes in the history of urban planning in Africa:


·         Theme I - 19th and 20th Century Colonial Urban Planning in Africa

·         Theme II - Postcolonial Urban Planning in Africa


In both themes we welcome country and cross-country approaches, studies of individual cities, and the comparison of African cities with one another.


The conference is organized in panels according to topics and issues.


The working language of the conference will be English. Translation services will not be provided.
We are open to consider parallel panels or individual papers presented in Portuguese or in French. For more details, contact us.


Participation in the conference requires the presentation of a paper.


We invite researchers, planners and postgraduate students to present critical analyses of the multifaceted urban planning experience in Africa.



Selection criteria


All submissions will be peer-reviewed for content and appropriateness to this conference.





One of the expected outcomes of the conference is the publication of a selection of papers in an edited book and in peer-reviewed academic journals. Plans have been made for possible publication in the IPHS section of the journal “Planning Perspectives - An International Journal of History, Planning and the Environment” (Routledge). Plans have also been made for the submission of a selection of papers to the “Journal of Contemporary African Studies” (Routledge). The selected manuscripts will undergo the standard peer-review process of these journals.


We hope the conference will also provide the opportunity for the development of an inter-disciplinary and inter-generational research network which might help to advance critical thinking about urban planning in Africa.





Abstracts are due before January 15, 2013. Notices of acceptance will be sent by e-mail on February 15, 2013. Upon notification of acceptance, authors are expected to acknowledge receipt of the acceptance and to confirm their intent to attend the conference. Papers accepted will be assigned to a specific session based on topic. PowerPoint Presentations are due before the Conference. Full papers will be submitted just after the conference for possible publication (deadline to be announced during the conference).





Information about registration will be provided in February 15, 2013.





All colleagues interested to participate in the conference are invited to submit, by e-mail, an abstract (aprox. 500 words), by no later than 15 January 2013, to:


Carlos Nunes Silva

Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning

University of Lisbon, Portugal



Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon, Portugal.