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On Pedestrian Accessibility: Spatial Justice and Progressive Planning in African Cities

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Full Publication Date
March 20, 2024

Africa is predicted to be the fastest urbanizing continent over the next century, with its primary and secondary cities expected to experience rapid growth. On the continent, over 70 percent of daily trips are made by walking. Yet, pedestrian-friendly city spaces remain underexplored in research on Africa as city planning regimes continue a long-established trend of prioritizing vehicular mobility. In response to this knowledge gap, and with the recent increased scholarly focus on spatial justice in African cities, we argue that it is essential to prioritize pedestrian accessibility within them. In this paper, we highlight vulnerable urban populations who are impacted by exclusive urban planning design and policies by focusing on children, women working in informal economies, and older adults. We conduct a critical literature review of the history and patterns of urban (spatial) planning on the continent, as well as mobility and transport infrastructure in African cities. We then outline a forward-looking section that assesses effective urban planning proposals relating to mobility and African urban development, as we consider how urban interventions can be applied to address the needs of vulnerable urban populations. Finally, we link the theoretical and applied components of the paper to scholarly discussions of spatial justice and articulate the progressive possibilities of African urban futures as central to future city development. We conclude with research directions on pedestrian accessibility and spatial justice in African urban planning agenda.

Patrick Brandful Cobbinah
Research Areas
Urban Systems and Built Environment
Publication Type
Journal Article
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Full Citation

Cobbinah, P. B., & Finn, B. M. (2024). On Pedestrian Accessibility: Spatial Justice and Progressive Planning in African Cities. Journal of Planning Literature, 0(0). CSS24-16