Aug 12

Housing in Africa

Africa is the least studied region of world by me. Known for poverty and civil wars, I though that is nothing interesting there, until recently… Africa does have interesting architecture that worth studying!

Most beautiful city in Africa is Luanda. with many modern housing complexes built after 2000. Impressive for such an African country. The biggest housing complex, Kilamba New Town was built in 2007-2012 by chinese developers and covering 8.8 sq km, it comprise about 750 blocks with only 3 apartment types: 3-bedroom (90-100 sqm?), 4-bedroom (120 sqm), 5-bedroom (150 sqm). See floor plans. For years it was a ghost city with slow selling apartments due of high prices and difficult loans.

Kilamba, Angola
Aerial view of Kilamba, Angola Apartment block in Kilamba, Angola

Nova Vida, Angola
Nova Vida, Luanda, Angola Nova Vida, Luanda, Angola
See more photos on Panoramio (user lillinka006)

Ugliest city in Africa is Cairo, being dominated by apartment buildings with high land coverage, adjoining each other, no space between buildings, many rooms ventilated through small airwells, built individually and not by major developers, they vary in heights and are often gray and not painted, damaging city skyline. The suburbs of Cairo feature regulated street network and spaced-apart buildings, but there is just few meters between buildings, which are same gray and colorless. Parks are scarce, together with having one of the worst traffic jams in the world, Cairo is among most polluted cities in the world.

There may be worse cities, especially small cities, with no paved roads at all, but Cairo ugliness is a disgrace for a country that is not really the poorest in the world.

Cairo central vs Cairo suburbs. Ugly gray buildings everywhere!
Cairo Cairo suburbs

Botswana is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Gaborone transformed from a poor city into a well-planned city with landed housing complexes.
Zimbabwe and South Africa have also beautiful planned cities but the economies are not doing well.

Gaborone, Botswana
Gaborone, Botswana

Tripoli does have a large amount of apartment buildings, 4, 8 and 10 storeys, identical buildings with large spaces between them…. are they public housing?

Study to be continued…
Africa page launched in July 2015


General info: The five Nordic countries (Maroc, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt) have large amount of population housed in apartment buildings. Central and southern Africa is dominated by low-density developments landed houses often single storey.

Despite of being low-income countries, the cheap land prices made the recent developments to feature houses and apartments bigger than world average of about 100 sqm. The spacious homes are also driven by large families with 4-8 children.

However these developments are affordable only by upper class. When modern housing developers will become affordable for the lower class currently living in mudbrick huts, apartment sizes are likely to be smaller.

Africa population was constant for centuries, 114 million (19.7% of world population) in year 1600, 133 million (8.1%) in year 1900 according Wikipedia. A rapid evolution occured in second half of 20th century, rising from 221 million (8.8%) in year 1950 to 1 billion (14.8%) in year 2010. Estimated to reach 1.8 billion (20% of world) in 2050.

But the agricultural output will grow enough to feed so many people and avoid a major famine? Personally I am worried.

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