Friday, March 22, 2013

Onitsha Market urbanism

This is the kind of urban space and architectures that we should be motorizing via digital technologies in Africa:

We need to get out in front not only in mapping these environments and networks, but also in re-engineering them for alternative futures. That is the best countermeasure to an array of narratives derived piecemeal via other geographies. It's not as mysterious as the The Economist (London) makes it out to be in their intro to December 2011 issue "The Hopeful Continent: Africa Rising" (not their March 2013 issue "The World's Fastest Growing Continent: Aspiring Africa"):

"THE shops are stacked six feet high with goods, the streets outside are jammed with customers and salespeople are sweating profusely under the onslaught. But this is not a high street during the Christmas-shopping season in the rich world. It is the Onitsha market in southern Nigeria, every day of the year. Many call it the world's biggest. Up to 3m people go there daily to buy rice and soap, computers and construction equipment. It is a hub for traders from the Gulf of Guinea, a region blighted by corruption, piracy, poverty and disease but also home to millions of highly motivated entrepreneurs and increasingly prosperous consumers."


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