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Old 04-28-2019, 11:21 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
143 posts, read 129,253 times
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Which Sub-Saharan African cities have the best infrastructure and walkability? I'm considering factors such as rail/subway systems, sidewalks, organized cohesive downtown areas. I haven't yet visited any cities, so the only ways I have to judge are from photos and videos available on the internet, and reading about the various cities.

Perhaps places like Capetown, Johannesburg or Nairobi would rank higher on the list? With the progress Rwanda has made, I'm guessing Kigali could be one of the better cities from an infrastructure standpoint as well. Any thoughts from those more knowledgeable on this topic?
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Old 04-28-2019, 02:01 PM
 
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The name of sub-saharan is a bit offensive (not sure if you know that). Most of the capital cities in Africa are nice.

But I would say
Kigali, Rwanda
Capetown, South Africa
Durban, South Africa
Nairobi, Kenya
Luanda, Angola
Dakar, Senegal
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Asmara, Eritrea
Port Louis, Mauritius
Dares Salam, Tanzania
Cairo, Egypt
Alexandria, Egypt
Abuja, Nigeria
Algiers Algeria
Gaborone, Botswana
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Old 04-28-2019, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Katy,Texas
3,495 posts, read 1,696,278 times
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Out of the cities I have been to, these are the best in terms of urbanity and walk-ability

Lagos,Nigeria the wealthy areas are 100% unwalkable, although a relatively high density and the Nigerian culture means that people walk all throughout Lagos, but nothing I have been to on the African continent, hits in terms of sheer density and urbanity as the central parts of Mainland Lagos and Lagos island. The grid is very organic, but it's missing key infrastructure alike sidewalks and taller buildings with less clutter along the already existing sidewalk infrastructure. Lagos is number one because while the built environment ignores the pedestrian, the density of the city, means pedestrians dominate many streets. Not to mention Eko Atlantic City being built that will surely spur on more development at least in the Lekki-Lagos Island- Victoria Island portion of the city to expand, and hopefully build a more cohesive urban environment than the Mainland. Lagos certainly has the most potential to develop into e very unique and pedstrian focused urban area.

Ibadan- Has the largest or one of the largest core of Africa, it's main problem is how hilly it is and thus how sprawly it is. The city has one of if not the most unique urban area I have visited while in Africa. With gorgeous rolling hills and an absolutely amazing in terms of size historical center. The main problem is once you leave the Old Quarter, the sprawl is apparent.The city still is very interesting in terms of how different it looks from a Lagos/Accra/Port Harcourt/ Warri or even a Cotonou/Lome. Again like Lagos especially with it's Old Quarter district the potential is unmatched, the entire Old Quarter could be renovated into a mostly carless area of 8 square miles. If Lagos has the potential for futuristic development, Ibadan has the potential for historic, dense development that is literally a time portal.

Cotonou- has a solid diagonal grid across most of the city, the infrastructure and traffic wasn't bad when I went and it's likely to form a larger metropolitan area with Porto Novo heading into the future. It's built environment, is great with much wider sidewalks than Lagos, and much better infrastructure in general. It's culture of excessive bike use,will allow for unlimited possibilities in the way of continued urban development.

Lome- Not honestly sure, which is better between it and Cotonou, both have great built environments, they both lack the density and potential of Lagos, but already look better from a walking perspective than Lagos does. The coastline in Lome is absolutely beautiful.


Accra- The main problem with Accra is the center of the city, while gorgeous is unwalkable, not as extreme as other places, but the city is aready low dense compared to most African cities with large suburbs quite a distance away from the core.It will be beautiful to drive through in the future but compared to Cotonou/Lagos and Lome it is by far the worst to walk. The rest of the city is typical West African sprawl and is pretty dense, although much less so than Lagos.


Port Harcourt- As the Garden City it is definitely more sprawly than most Nigerian cities already, the main problem is the Old Town of Port Harcourt while nice and buzzing with a bit of activity isn't well connected with the rest of the city which is mostly made up of single family houses. The jobs aren't in the old town either and as Port Harcourt develops their is a high chance with oil being dominant in the economy, that the city core will remain relatively neglected as places further up North upstage it in various ways.

Warri- Smaller, less dense Port Harcourt. The city is one of the most violent in Nigeria and isn't a capital, even as Nigeria develops while this city has massive cultural influence, it will likely be left behind in money for development, even with it being an important oil hub, think of it as NOLA and Port Harcourt as Houston. This may or may not have an effect on how the urban area develops.


Abuja- So most, Nigerian cities have wealthy areas called GRAs, that as I mentioned earlier normally abut the core, and have massive potential to be low dense sprawly car oriented neighborhoods. Accra also has something similar. Lagos as well as Ibadan but the latter two are much smaller portions of the city. Port Harcourt has several and Warri has one as well. Now imagine if an entire city, was a GRA. You get Abuja, and that's why Abuja comes dead last on my list. The city is sprawl to the point that you can mistake it for an American city, It s both the most beautiful Nigerian city and West African city and the most car-centric sprawly city as well. It's literally Dubai, but with more random open space in the city. Since it's well planned it has the opportunity to turn out well enough, but as of right now the best urban environment is the much denser albeit slummier suburban areas outside of the city. It has the best Sidewalk infrastructure of any city on this list except maybe Cotonou, but it is built like if Orange County was moved into Northern California and as a result the core city was Santa Ana. Although it might be the best looking and wealthiest city in the future it will 1000% be the least urban West African city.
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
143 posts, read 129,253 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bayarea-girl View Post
The name of sub-saharan is a bit offensive (not sure if you know that).
I wasn't aware of that; I was under the impression that it simply described the geographic location that its name implies. But regardless, thanks for letting me know - what is the inoffensive term for this geographic location, so I can use that going forward?
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
143 posts, read 129,253 times
Reputation: 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by NigerianNightmare View Post
Out of the cities I have been to, these are the best in terms of urbanity and walk-ability

Lagos,Nigeria the wealthy areas are 100% unwalkable, although a relatively high density and the Nigerian culture means that people walk all throughout Lagos, but nothing I have been to on the African continent, hits in terms of sheer density and urbanity as the central parts of Mainland Lagos and Lagos island. The grid is very organic, but it's missing key infrastructure alike sidewalks and taller buildings with less clutter along the already existing sidewalk infrastructure. Lagos is number one because while the built environment ignores the pedestrian, the density of the city, means pedestrians dominate many streets. Not to mention Eko Atlantic City being built that will surely spur on more development at least in the Lekki-Lagos Island- Victoria Island portion of the city to expand, and hopefully build a more cohesive urban environment than the Mainland. Lagos certainly has the most potential to develop into e very unique and pedstrian focused urban area.

Ibadan- Has the largest or one of the largest core of Africa, it's main problem is how hilly it is and thus how sprawly it is. The city has one of if not the most unique urban area I have visited while in Africa. With gorgeous rolling hills and an absolutely amazing in terms of size historical center. The main problem is once you leave the Old Quarter, the sprawl is apparent.The city still is very interesting in terms of how different it looks from a Lagos/Accra/Port Harcourt/ Warri or even a Cotonou/Lome. Again like Lagos especially with it's Old Quarter district the potential is unmatched, the entire Old Quarter could be renovated into a mostly carless area of 8 square miles. If Lagos has the potential for futuristic development, Ibadan has the potential for historic, dense development that is literally a time portal.

Cotonou- has a solid diagonal grid across most of the city, the infrastructure and traffic wasn't bad when I went and it's likely to form a larger metropolitan area with Porto Novo heading into the future. It's built environment, is great with much wider sidewalks than Lagos, and much better infrastructure in general. It's culture of excessive bike use,will allow for unlimited possibilities in the way of continued urban development.

Lome- Not honestly sure, which is better between it and Cotonou, both have great built environments, they both lack the density and potential of Lagos, but already look better from a walking perspective than Lagos does. The coastline in Lome is absolutely beautiful.


Accra- The main problem with Accra is the center of the city, while gorgeous is unwalkable, not as extreme as other places, but the city is aready low dense compared to most African cities with large suburbs quite a distance away from the core.It will be beautiful to drive through in the future but compared to Cotonou/Lagos and Lome it is by far the worst to walk. The rest of the city is typical West African sprawl and is pretty dense, although much less so than Lagos.


Port Harcourt- As the Garden City it is definitely more sprawly than most Nigerian cities already, the main problem is the Old Town of Port Harcourt while nice and buzzing with a bit of activity isn't well connected with the rest of the city which is mostly made up of single family houses. The jobs aren't in the old town either and as Port Harcourt develops their is a high chance with oil being dominant in the economy, that the city core will remain relatively neglected as places further up North upstage it in various ways.

Warri- Smaller, less dense Port Harcourt. The city is one of the most violent in Nigeria and isn't a capital, even as Nigeria develops while this city has massive cultural influence, it will likely be left behind in money for development, even with it being an important oil hub, think of it as NOLA and Port Harcourt as Houston. This may or may not have an effect on how the urban area develops.


Abuja- So most, Nigerian cities have wealthy areas called GRAs, that as I mentioned earlier normally abut the core, and have massive potential to be low dense sprawly car oriented neighborhoods. Accra also has something similar. Lagos as well as Ibadan but the latter two are much smaller portions of the city. Port Harcourt has several and Warri has one as well. Now imagine if an entire city, was a GRA. You get Abuja, and that's why Abuja comes dead last on my list. The city is sprawl to the point that you can mistake it for an American city, It s both the most beautiful Nigerian city and West African city and the most car-centric sprawly city as well. It's literally Dubai, but with more random open space in the city. Since it's well planned it has the opportunity to turn out well enough, but as of right now the best urban environment is the much denser albeit slummier suburban areas outside of the city. It has the best Sidewalk infrastructure of any city on this list except maybe Cotonou, but it is built like if Orange County was moved into Northern California and as a result the core city was Santa Ana. Although it might be the best looking and wealthiest city in the future it will 1000% be the least urban West African city.
Very interesting. Thanks for the detailed reply. I am curious to see how some of these cities look in 10 or 20 years, particularly Lagos with its huge population.
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Old 04-28-2019, 10:40 PM
 
3,116 posts, read 6,832,404 times
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Hi Dave120,

The term sub-saharan is offensive for several reasons.

1. Sub means less than
2. There isn't anything geographical about the term, you'll find this is just a catch all phrase for countries in the continent coined by colonists
3. It is used to differentiate and divide Africans by color/economic standards of how the colonist view darker/lighter skinned Africans or Northern Africans from the rest of Africa. It is more acceptable to say North, South, East, West Africans or make reference to a specific country in Africa. Think of the continent like Asia there are 48 countries in Asia and 54 in Africa and they are all uniquely different from one another. No one would refer to Asian countries as sub nor would someone ask which cities in Asia are the best. Rather someone would ask which cities are the nicest in China, India, or Japan etc. For some reason the map of Africa is very small but the continent is HUGE and many cities/towns make up one country.
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Old 04-29-2019, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
143 posts, read 129,253 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bayarea-girl View Post
Hi Dave120,
nor would someone ask which cities in Asia are the best. Rather someone would ask which cities are the nicest in China, India, or Japan etc. For some reason the map of Africa is very small but the continent is HUGE and many cities/towns make up one country.
Point taken on the term as I wasn't aware that it is of a colonial origin ("sub-arctic" is a geographic term which to my knowledge means "south of the arctic circle" and I mistakenly related the African term as of a similar geographic meaning).

However, with that said, I actually was asking about most of the continent because I was curious about many of these cities (which, yes, I am aware, have different cultures, languages, etc. from each other); I don't see why it should be forbidden to include an entire continent in my question. I could just as well ask about cities in South America with the best infrastructure, or cities in Europe with that are most walkable, etc. Should those questions also be off limits because they group entire continents together?
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Old 04-29-2019, 09:13 AM
 
3,116 posts, read 6,832,404 times
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Dave120, when you mentioned sub sahara rather than Africa that could be anywhere.

South America is much smaller and has only 12 countries thus less cities, So America has one country that is English speaking, Brazil takes up much of South America and speaks Portuguese with the other countries speaking Spanish. South America has more towns then they do cities. My comparison to Asia was more appropriate because of the size and fastly different cultures and countries in the two regions. The inquiry is rather too broad.

Africans don't travel to other African countries like someone from NY would go to CA or Hawaii. Most foreigners to Africa only travel to 1 maybe 5 countries in the continent so they would only compare it to what they know rather against all of the cities in the continent.

Anyways, most of all of the capitals in Africa tend to be nice and well developed. The infrastructure is changing rapidly throughout the continent. Hopefully you understand my point. Nothing is forbidden just explaining the differences. When I think of what makes a nice city I think of the people, if I'm welcomed, I think about the scenery, architecture, amenities. Some cities in Ethiopia for example are difficult to get to or you have to travel by plane and don't have amenities like the capital or the capital don't have what those places have like historic sites or churches built from rock or specific tribes. To me you can still compare cities but most will be capital comparisons and outside the capital cities tend to be more walkable.
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Old 04-30-2019, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Macao
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I can only describe the cities that I've been to:

Cape Town - Always a well-known must-see city on the African continent. While I rented a car to see it best, you could also say it is walkable. I'd like to say it is walkable like San Francisco is walkable. Meaning there are walkable areas, but to see the entire city, it is better served with a car, especially getting up to Table Mountain, and exploring the coast.

Maputo - I could walk around that capital city quite easily. It isn't that big of a place. I tried to keep off the streets after dark, but I'm not sure if I was just being too cautious or not. It is known as a safer place than South Africa though.

Mauritius - Port Louis is the big city, and I went there. It has a little waterfront area with some restaurants and malls, but it is better to park near it and walk around. The rest of the city is walkable, but a big mess of a small city as well.

Reunion Island - technically Africa, although actually France. It is kind of an island like Hawaii, and the biggest city isn't that big, but I did like that towns and small cities had a French-like quality to walkability - meaning, they were pleasant and neighborhoodish when walking around most of the towns on the Island.

Addis Ababa - I walked all over the core of the city. It isn't really a walking city, but I felt good about walking it all over anyway. There were many long stretches of urban nothingness to walk by much of the time though.

Nairobi - I stayed in the suburbs. It had more density to it than American suburbs, for sure.

The rest I can only do by heresay, but I've heard Kigali and Asmara are must-visits for walkability.
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