special issue

Call for Papers – The Journal of Urban Affairs Special Issue, Understandings of Global South Urbanism: The Identity of African Cities (Abstract deadline: May 31, 2020)

Call for Papers

Journal of Urban Affairs

Special Issue Theme: Understandings of Global South Urbanism: The Identity of African Cities 


Guest Editor: 

Dr. Patrick Brandful Cobbinah

The University of Melbourne, Australia

Email: patrick.cobbinah@unimelb.edu.au

African cities are at the crossroads of rapid urbanization and climate change. United Nations statistics show that Africa is expected to accommodate nearly a quarter (1.3 billion) of the world’s urban population by 2050 (UNDESA/PD, 2012). Scientific evidence suggests that the current and estimated rate of urbanization is already impacting urban Africa in terms of poverty, housing shortages and slum proliferation, limited provision of essential social services, unsustainable exploitation of land resources, haphazard physical development, deteriorating transport system and services, and increasing unemployment and crime (Cobbinah et al., 2015). Initiatives to improve the image of African cities over the last 20 years have been international in nature focusing on stimulating sustainable development. They include in the Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals. The New Urban Agenda, and the Agenda 2063 Africa the future We Want. Yet, over the past two decades, African cities have not experienced any meaningful improvements in the environment and the living conditions of its residents, and that African cities continue to be plagued with urbanization and climate change threats. The obvious questions that remain are: Do researchers understand the identity of an African city? How are African cities different from other cities, particularly those in the Global North? And How can an understanding of African cities be useful in building sustainable futures?

Presently, African cities’ experience, in both planning and management, is more important than ever as the region has become globalized, reached maturity and become highly prone to urbanization and climate change impacts. The pathway to success (or failure) lies in the overall planning and management of cities, which heavily depends on strong appreciation of urban sustainability; a concept that can be co-created or co-destroyed by the very interaction between all actors and stakeholders involved in urban planning and management (including residents). Thus, perspectives and research from different built environment fields and disciplines are highly important for understanding this unique evolutionary process in African cities as well as the co-creation and co-destruction in urban sustainability.

This special issue attempts to provide an understanding of the African city, and how that can contribute to sustainable development futures. The special issue welcomes theoretical, empirical, experimental, and case study research contributions. These contributions should clearly address the theoretical and practical implications of the African city research in reference. The topics may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Understanding of an African city (Definition and characteristics);
  • Competitiveness and sustainability of the African cities;
  • City resident’s behavior, expectations, experience and satisfaction with the African cities;
  • Urban resilience, and urban planning and development;
  • Emerging and innovative research methods and methodologies on urban sustainability;
  • Evolution and morphologies of African cities;
  • Urban health and well-being;
  • Urban mobilities;
  • Urban policy, planning, and development;
  • Urban Poverty;
  • Urban resilience;
  • Social services (e.g., water, sanitation, energy/power etc.);
  • Innovative futures

Abstract and initial paper submissions

Interested authors are invited to submit 150-300 words abstract describing the research relevance, methods, results (expected) and implications of their papers on understanding the identity of African cities. Please include a 50-word bio and full contact details of each contributing author and submit as a single document to Patrick Cobbinah (patrick.cobbinah@unimelb.edu.au) by May 31, 2020. Authors will be notified of the outcome by June 20, 2020. Full papers to be submitted to the same email will be due on October 31, 2020.

 Important dates

Abstract submission deadline: May 31, 2020

Decision on abstract proposal: June 20, 2020

Manuscript submission deadline (6,000 – 8,000 words): October 31, 2020

Reviewers’ Feedback: December 15, 2020

Revised paper’s submission deadline: February 21, 2021

Reviewers’ final feedback and editorial decisions: May 30, 2021

Final manuscript due: July 31, 2021

Publication with Journal of Urban Affairs: September 2021

All papers should follow the submission guidelines of the Journal of Urban Affairs. For more information please visit: Journal of Urban Affairs

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