History of Urban Planning in Two West African Colonial Capitals: Residential Segregation in British Lagos and French Dakar (1850-1930)

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Few published studies have thoroughly treated the history of European planning practices in the overseas colonial territories. This is especially true regarding the African continent in general and sub-Saharan Africa in particular. Interest in the indigenous response to the formal organisation of the colonial settlement has only been manifest in the last few decades. In addition, French and British colonial policies and practices in West Africa, particularly with regard to town planning, have rarely been analysed together within the same intellectual framework.” This book contains eleven black and white photographs and two color photographs.


“This book goes beyond the history of colonial urban policy, to focus on what we might term the interface between the history of urban policy, and the pragmatic implementation or disregard of that policy. This book is a significant contribution to the Anglophone literature on colonial urban history in West Africa. It complements both existing studies in English on French colonies in West and North Africa (e.g. Gwendolyn Wright) as well as an established French literature on colonial urbanism in West Africa (C. Coquery-Vidrovitch; O. Goerg, A. Sinou).” – Prof. Peter Mark, Wesleyan University

“The research is meticulous, drawing upon visual, archival and published sources, and it relates these carefully but often in a stimulatingly provocative way to the generalisations of historians and urban theorists. It is thus blend of vivid detail gleaned from often previously unresearched sources and a fine awareness of the state of work in the larger related disciplines that will be, I suspect, the book’s most attractive aspect.” – Prof. Mark Crinson, University of Manchester

“There is limited published research on the history of colonial planning practice in sub-Saharan Africa, while indigenous responses have only recently emerged as a significant area of research, differentiating between different ethnic groups. A comparative approach to French and British colonial practice, within a strong analytical framework which recognizes distinctive colonial ideologies or doctrines (indirect rule/dual mandate, as/in//at/on association) is rare. This book is, therefore, a significant and original contribution, and also draws upon unusual photographic and map sources from the period.” – Prof. Robert Home, Anglia Ruskin University

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Plates
Foreword by Peter Mark
A Note on historiography
The timespan
Why Lagos and Dakar?
Why residential segregation?
Why Colonial planning?
The structure of the book
Part I — Urban Form in Early Colonial Lagos and Dakar: Segregation and Effective Colonisation
1 The Formation of Early Lagos: Organisation and Partition of Space
Ideal forms versus actual realisations in the emergence of Lagos
Overseas formal imprints
Assessing Lagos’s spatial organisation before British intervention
Lagos’s site: geo-political tensions
Built-up Lagos during the Consular Period: the making into quarters
2 From Spatial Definitions to Internal Divisions: Urban Space of Early Colonial Lagos
Definition of boundaries
Lagos’s land question
Lagos’s street morphology
Building materials
3 Inclusion or Exclusion? The Establishment of Colonial Dakar and the Indigenous Population
Planting the flag: historical and architectural encounters
A master-plan for Dakar
Dakar’ s indigenous huts and their negative image
Part II— Policies and Politics of Sanitation and Segregation in Colonial Lagos and Dakar
1 “The Rubbish Heap Called Lagos”
The main agents of colonial planning in Lagos
The sanitary infrastructure: some comparative observations
Sanitising Lagos: between ‘it is hardly worth trying’ and ‘it is too late’
Moving the capital?
2 Lagos: “Residences of Europeans and Natives are already so Hopelessly Intermixed”
Governor William MacGregor’s healthy-for-all policy in Lagos
Governor Walter Egerton: Lagos as a contested terrain
Creating Ikoyi as a white residential area
Lord Lugard: residential segregation in theory and practice
Tensions around the anti-plague campaign
Anti-plague measures: international perspectives
The LEDB and ‘Slum clearance’ in Lagos: voices of protest
Segregation in British eastern and southern Africa: a brief comparison
3 Dakar: “It was not an Act of Racial Discrimination, It was only Self Defence”
Between sanitation and residential segregation in pre-1914 Dakar
Creating the Médina in Dakar, 1914: a sanitary project?
Dakar’ s Médina: a political issue?
Cordon sanitaire as an idea and practice in colonial West Africa
Dual cities or Apartheid: the case of North Africa
Part III — Colonial Modernity and Residential Segregation in Dakar
1 Dakar: “Paris of the Tropics”?
Vocabulary of colonial urban landscape of francophone West Africa
From the Médina of Dakar to its Plateau
Creating Dakar’s Plateau: formal aspects
Creating Dakar’s Plateau: socially related aspects
2 Between Modernity, Garden City and Dakar’s Plateau
The garden city idea and anglophone Africa: origins and developments
Dakar’s Plateau: from garden quarter to ‘beau quartier’
Green Spaces and the (urban) settlement: Senegalese perspectives
3 Perceptual Segregation as Embodied in the Street-Naming of Colonial Dakar
The first street-names of Dakar — the colonial perspective
Later developments in colonial street-names in Dakar
Street and place names — indigenous perspectives and the Dakarois context
Appendix Chronological Table: Key Events in Colonial Lagos and Dakar between the 1850s and the 1930s

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