Urban planning, colonial doctrines and street naming in French Dakar and British Lagos, c. 1850-1930

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Abstract

The published literature that has thoroughly treated the history of European planning in sub-Saharan Africa is still rather scanty. This article examines French and British colonial policies for town planning and street naming in Dakar and Lagos, their chief lieux de colonisation in West Africa. It will trace the relationships between the physical and conceptual aspects of town planning and the colonial doctrines that produced these plans from the official establishment of these cities as colonial capitals in the mid-nineteenth century and up to the inter-war period. Whereas in Dakar these aspects reflected a Eurocentric meta-narrative that excluded African histories and identities, a glimpse at contemporary Lagos shows the opposite. This study is one of few that compares colonial doctrines of assimilation to doctrines of indirect rule as each affects urban planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-448
Number of pages23
JournalUrban History
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes

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