Decoloniality, Inclusivity And Autonomy In Reimagining Cities Of The Future

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Londiwe Sinenhlanhla Jali

Abstract

African Union has hope for a vision of an Africa that is thriving by 2063 (UNDP Africa, 2017). Historically Africa was under the gaze and submissive to the imaginings of western vision. Africans as drivers of development prove to be difficult as global coloniality continues to shape inclusivity, autonomy, and spatial activities. Reimagining the future of cities is aligned with the way global coloniality unpacks how modernisation takes place. Decoloniality becomes important in that it gives Africans the space to think about autonomy to plan how can issues of inclusivity be addressed in the context of providing sustainable cities in line with spatial justice. The main drivers of reimagining the cities of the future are environmental sustainability and disruptive technology. Environmental sustainability and technological vision/disruptive technology are very problematic in the African context. In the African context, environmental issues are secondary as social inequalities and political issues are at the forefront of African lived experiences. Technology although present continues to exacerbate the gap between the “haves and the have nots”. This paper critically explores the future of cities concerning decoloniality, inclusivity and autonomy. It highlights key discussions about decoloniality and helps to unpack an African perspective towards reimagining future cities. The purpose of this paper is to bring to the forefront what sustainability means for smart cities in Africa, and if they are ready to take on an autonomous role in defining the future of cities.

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