Alain Sinou
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The ‘plateau’ in West African, French-speaking colonial towns
Between garden and city
in Garden cities and colonial planning
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Referring to the overall territory of French West Africa, this chapter elaborates on the urban ‘plateaux‘ – that is, the most privileged part of French colonial towns. Indeed, it is somewhat paradoxical to examine the urban space produced there, designated exclusively for Europeans, using the ‘garden city’ concept. This is because of the fact that in metropolitan France, the garden city concept (or cité-jardin) had evolved primarily for social housing and by socialist politicians. If, under the colonial situation, the question of producing social housing was not on the agenda, the natural environment in sub-Saharan Africa became the subject of many questions. Through an analysis of the creation of several urban areas reserved for ‘whites’ in French West Africa – such as Saint Louis of Senegal and especially the government town of Koulouba in Bamako (today's Mali) – this chapter focuses on the role accorded to greenery there and how it came about. The extent of influence of the garden city concept is then assessed through the identification of the logic behind the spread of relevant urban models.

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Garden cities and colonial planning

Transnationality and urban ideas in Africa and Palestine

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