Call for Proposals for : 11th International Conference on Urban History (EAUH 2012), Cities & Societies in Comparative Perspective, Prague (29 August-1 September 2012)


Specialist Session 28

Keywords : Africa, urban history, town planning, network of expertise

To a large extent, urban planning practices both in colonial as well as postcolonial sub-Saharan Africa are still scrutinized through a national framework of analysis. Yet, notwithstanding the importance of the classic dissemination-model, many urban planning practices in sub-Saharan Africa followed other routes of knowledge and communication than those shaped by the métropole-colony or donor-developing country axis alone. Transnational networks, such as circuits of education, major journals and magazines, international conferences or series of lectures influenced significantly the transfer of urban planning expertise, particularly on the local level and during the process of implementation. Since their scope stretches far abroad the national borders, it is important to research these transnational networks of proficiency from a comparative perspective.

We propose to approach this topic not via individual biographies (cfr. the 2008 EAUH Lyon session S11 Migration/displacement and the dissemination of urban planning expertise in the mid 20th Century in non-Western areas which highlighted the individual trajectories of designers), but rather by looking at various types of networks of communication between different professionals. In order to establish a typology of transnational networks of expertise in the field of urban planning in sub-Sahara Africa, we look for papers that are using a comparative approach and that go beyond the canonical events. Instead of highlighting the famous CIAM-conferences, we aim at revealing less known networks with a significant importance for the dissemination of urban planning expertise throughout Africa, such as the Aga Khan Foundation, the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, the International Federation of Housing and Planning which organised the 1952 Lisbon conference on housing in tropical climates or the inter-African Housing Research Conference held in 1952 in Pretoria, South Africa, under the auspices of the Commission for Technical Co-operation in Africa South of the Sahara.

Session chairs :

Luce Beeckmans (Groningen University, The Netherlands) – l.beeckmans

Johan Lagae (Ghent University, Belgium) – johan.lagae

All abstracts, maximum 500 words, with a brief CV should be submitted  by  October 1,2011.

For more information, please visit the website of the conference on