Metropolis: The African Metropolitan Report, shedding light on African metropolitan areas

Metropolis: The African Metropolitan Report, shedding light on African metropolitan areas

Within the framework of the 2019 World Summit of UCLG hosted in Durban, Metropolis has released the first of a series of regional reports: The African Metropolitan Report. For the first time the totality of the metropolitan space is used as the unit of analysis, bringing new insights about urbanisation in Africa and contributing to the goal of building a shared metropolitan narrative across the globe.

The African Metropolitan Report encloses the analysis resulting from a comparative research of 17 African metropolises – 18 Metropolis’ members – across different regions in the continent. By doing so it brings new insights about urbanisation, gentrification and metropolisation in Africa and offers a frame to include the much-needed metropolitan perspective in urban governance. As one of the fastest urbanising regions in the world, Africa faces acute challenges that, although shared with other cities, have their own personal colour and consequently, must be handled with tailor-made solutions. Needless to say, counting on data at the metropolitan scale is essential for this endeavour.

The structure of the paper is divided into 5 overarching themes, in line with the original theme division of the metropolitan indicators. Namely: context and governance, economic development, social cohesion, environmental sustainability and quality of life; all containing a gender mainstreaming section. The fact of it being regional, thus taking into account local differences in culture and levels of development, enables our members to gain a better understanding of their individual challenges in a near, but also broader, context.

It is important to note, this document is the product of a bigger in-depth metropolitan research and analysis covering the globe, also know as the Metropolis Observatory project. The project features a pioneering comparative research on 58 metropolitan spaces (69 Metropolis’ members) by means of 38 metropolitan indicators that count now with 2,789 data points (free to access here). For the aforementioned reasons, and aware that worldwide comparisons may be biased, the metropolitan data obtained was decided to be analysed embedded in its regional context.

Global agendas, such as the New Urban Agenda, have repeatedly stressed the importance of creating monitoring mechanisms and methodologies to gather and analyse data at the local level. This report – and the ones to come – jointly with the set of metropolitan indicators that gave birth to it, represent a first step towards shifting data-gathering efforts towards more boundary-fluid spaces: metropolitan spaces. Spaces that capture a more accurate vision of the urbanising reality, prioritizing a holist view of the interconnected territories that depend and live of each other.

Article by Metropolis