The Architecture of Nation-building in Africa as a Development Aid Project: Designing the capital cities of Kinshasa (Congo) and Dodoma (Tanzania) in the post-independence years
After independence in the early 1960s, new nation states in sub-Saharan Africa started a long and often ambiguous process of nation-building. This process of nation-building was also literally a process of building as the newly independent states initiated large-scale building projects by which they aspired to represent their power in the urban space, as well as break with the material legacies of the colonial past. Yet, even though the new regimes strived for new norms and forms to express their identity as new and independent Africans states, because of a lack of expertise and funds, they mostly commissioned foreign architects within the framework of development programs, thereby clearly mirroring colonial practices. This article retraces the intricate web of foreign development experts and networks of aid underpinning the 'architecture of nation-building' in two post-independence capital cities: Kinshasa (DRCongo) and Dodoma (Tanzania). This comparative analysis brings to the fore the various motives behind the foreign investments in the African nation-building projects in an era dominated by Cold War antagonism, as well as the diverse strategies deployed by African states to turn the competing networks of Cold War solidarity to their own advantage. Considering the vast reliance on development aid, I argue that the 'architecture of nation-building' in Kinshasa and Dodoma is not primarily representing national identity, but is foremost an expression of the new 'partnerships in development' concluded in the post-independence years, as well as the failure of these partnerships in terms of achieving the initial development goals. Moreover, bearing in mind China's role in the implementation, I state that while the 'architecture of nation-building' in both cities clearly represents the regime of development aid, it does so in a way that profoundly differs from what was originally intended. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Source (journal)
Progress in planning. - Oxford
Oxford : 2018
122 (2018) , p. 1-28
Full text (Publisher's DOI)
Full text (publisher's version - intranet only)
Publication type
Publications with a UAntwerp address
External links
Web of Science
Creation 10.07.2018
Last edited 15.11.2022
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