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Urban transformations and public health in the emergent city examines how urban health and wellbeing are shaped by migration, mobility, racism, sanitation and gender. Adopting a global focus, spanning Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, the essays in this volume bring together a wide selection of voices that explore the interface between social, medical and natural sciences. This interdisciplinary approach, moving beyond traditional approaches to urban research, offers a unique perspective on today’s cities and the challenges they face. Edited by Professor Michael Keith and Dr Andreza Aruska de Souza Santos, this volume also features contributions from leading thinkers on cities in Brazil, China, South Africa and the United Kingdom. This geographic diversity is matched by the breadth of their different fields, from mental health and gendered violence to sanitation and food systems. Together, they present a complex yet connected vision of a ‘new biopolitics’ in today’s metropolis, one that requires an innovative approach to urban scholarship regardless of geography or discipline. This volume, featuring chapters from a number of renowned authors including the former deputy mayor of Rio de Janeiro Luiz Eduardo Soares, is an important resource for anyone seeking to better understand the dynamics of urban change. With its focus on the everyday realities of urban living, from health services to public transport, it contains valuable lessons for academics, policy makers and practitioners alike.
African cities and collaborative futures: Urban platforms and metropolitan logistics brings together scholars from across the globe to discuss the nature of African cities – the interactions of residents with infrastructure, energy, housing, safety and sustainability, seen through local narratives and theories. This groundbreaking collection, drawing on a variety of fields and extensive first-hand research, offers a fresh perspective on some of the most pressing issues confronting urban Africa in the twenty-first century. Each of the chapters, using case studies from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania, explores how the rapid growth of African cities is reconfiguring the relationship between urban social life and its built forms. While the most visible transformations in cities today can be seen as infrastructural, these manifestations are cultural as well as material, reflecting the different ways in which the city is rationalised, economised and governed. How can we ‘see like a city’ in twenty-first-century Africa, understanding the urban present to shape its future? This is the central question posed throughout this volume, with a practical focus on how academics, local decision-makers and international practitioners can work together to achieve better outcomes.
The conclusion of the volume considers ways in which the collection speaks to the future of urban studies globally as well as the particular challenges of African cities. It suggests that the chapters in the volume share a disposition that supports ‘translational research’ that advances urban studies from a concern with the powers of infrastructures of the city to a complementary but alternative focus on the architecture of the platform economies they configure and the logistics through which cities themselves manage to function in even the most challenging circumstances. While the introduction focused on the fashion in which different forms of disciplinary expertise and science ‘lands’ in the African city, the conclusion addresses the ways in which the work of the contributors to this volume speaks to forms of global governance and international city networks, claims made in the name of the Anthropocene understanding of the urban system at planetary scale, the dynamics of climate change and the contours of global political economy. The conclusion draws on the work of anthropologist Jane Guyer to highlight the need to combine a sense of the path dependencies of urban form (their legacies), the structures of scientific knowledges that make the workings of cities visible (their logics) and the forms of infrastructural combinations that lubricate their working (their logistics).
In the context of urban Africa, how can we ‘see like a city’ and yet account for the different legacies of colonialism, inequality and social change across the region? This is a discussion that encompasses both local experiences as well as shared postcolonial theories of planned modernisation. Particularities about a place’s history and demographics also call for an analysis of how exceptionalities are responses to pressing global contexts. By combining specific discussions on African cities with a global overview on key issues including waste, energy transition, security and risk governance, we break the conventional polarisation between seeing ‘from within’ or ‘from afar’. The scholarship we present showcases the perspectives of scholars based in Africa and the UK, offering an alternative framing through collaboration and shared research. The data analysed and represented is also interpreted and translated, speaking through a variety of personal and scientific dispositions that appear throughout this volume. In particular, we use infrastructure – in its various intersections of place, people and power – to discuss the philosophy and postcolonial theories around becoming and being a city.
Social scientists, data scientists, epidemiologists, zoologists and other scholars have delved into the co-variables of class, transport patterns, housing conditions, age, migration, nutrition, climate change and sanitation as well as access to health centres to determine the probability, duration and extent of disease outbreaks. Such studies have shown that the separation of the body from what surrounds it, ‘the flesh’ from ‘the stone’, is of little help if one shapes the other. With most of the world’s population now living in cities, this chapter discusses healthy living in changing metropolises. We consider in this chapter how cities may circumscribe access to health centres, the factors that determine housing choices and how these in turn may determine health outcomes. We also consider how individuals and communities may reshape cities recursively, all too often meaning that urban health is not only a study that intertwines people and space, but also does so under a temporal matrix. Historical legacies and path dependencies, migration, adaptation and change are thus conceptualised and discussed when the ethics, the access, the definitions and the transformations of public health initiatives and the demands of the twenty-first century are examined.
The availability of big data as well as life in an urban age has created expectations about the prediction and control of diseases. And yet, at the same time, cultural and gender nuances have made it necessary to reconceptualise wellbeing. In this chapter we bring together arguments presented throughout this volume about expectations and limitations when addressing health in the city. What has been demonstrated throughout this volume is that public health is a common good as much as it is an individual choice. The balance between ‘my body, my rules’ and the shared space that connects everything and everyone is one that demands constant negotiation. The trade offs and instability between the individual and communities are also a discussion of the availability of resources such as individually tailored treatments and the epidemics of city life. In this complex system of connected individuals living across different urban realities, we have contributed by concluding that medical knowledges demand a new urban imaginary: thinking experimentally about optimising public health interventions in global processes of urban transformation.