Colonial and Postcolonial planning

Ambivalent inheritance: Jinja Town in search of a postcolonial refrain

Upphovsperson: Byerley, Andrew
Utgivare: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Urban Dynamics | Routledge
År: 2011
Ämnesord: Uganda, Colonial and Postcolonial planning, housing estate, rhythmnanalysis, Human geography, Kulturgeografi
Jinja Town in Uganda, selected as one of five centres of growth in the post-WWII era of colonial developmentism, is perennially represented in the Ugandan media as the quintessential industrial town gone off-track. This is particularly evident for the case of the African housing estates built in Jinja in the 1950s where the dominant everyday rhythm is no longer dictated by the factory siren or the monthly wage but is instead a landscape scored by multiple rhythms. By conceptualising these estates as inherited machines – still loaded with a profusion of signs and objects from the era of the modern industrial ‘refrain’ – this paper seeks both to illustrate the colonial planning rationality and to examine contemporary processes of vernacular urbanism and contestations surrounding ‘re-occupations’ of the post-colonial city. It is argued that we need to seriously question any a priori invocation of a generic form of vernacular urbanism that is (or is not) to be prioritized over or ‘mixed’ with a Western planning cycle. Instead, the case study shows how historically mediated place specificities complicate the notion that the logics of place making can be unproblematically abstracted from.