'Garden City' in the tropics? French Dakar in comparative perspective

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The aim of this article is to examine the transmission of garden city notions into the colonial context by focussing on French Dakar, a key site of colonisation in West Africa. Although there is an abundance of literature on the diffusion of urban ideas in general and garden city notions in particular, publications about extra-European planning history, especially in the formerly colonised territories and sub-Saharan Africa, are scant. The article analyses the conception and communication of garden city schemes from late nineteenth-century Britain to early twentieth-century France in terms of cité-jardin applications within the colonial urban sphere of French West Africa. It will also be shown that in interwar Dakar, the practical and terminological usages of the cité-jardin served mainly to create a prestigious image for the designated residential quarters of administrative employees. As a result, unofficial class segregation within the expatriate society was enforced as was unofficial racial segregation between the colonisers and the colonised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cité-jardin
  • Colonial urban planning
  • Dakar
  • French West Africa
  • Garden City
  • Residential segregation


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