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Consuming Kinshasa : Private developers and their city-building projects during the colonial and post-colonial era.

Robby Fivez (UGent)
(2017)
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Abstract
The contemporary urban landscape of Kinshasa is scattered with numerous billboards presenting shiny 3D-renders of urban megaprojects, often flanked by city-advertising slogans that promise a bright, global and modern future for the city, to its inhabitants. While these – mostly privately developed – utopias are often understood as a contemporary phenomenon, we can trace back their genealogy to both colonial and post-colonial city-building projects. Through a profound analysis of the Galeries Albert 1er – a high-rise building developed by a Belgian real-estate tycoon in 1952 – I aim to reveal how already during the 1950’s the inner-city was greatly shaped by private investors. The project, comprising shops, offices and housing, forwarded a bright future for Léopoldville but mainly provided a racially segregated ‘urban’ environment to an exclusively white public. The paper will then discuss how there is a remarkable echo in this respect with some large-scale urban schemes developed during the Mobutu-era. The most prominent, the Kin-Center – a huge shopping center with a variety of urban functions, developed by a French real-estate group in 1974 – promised to turn the city into a new global metropole, but was rather a city-lite, exclusively accessible to a wealthy public. By focussing on these shopping center cases, the paper puts an often ignored built production on the table, that is to a large extent defined by private investors and their market driven logics. Understanding these principles could however be of great use when assessing the modern-day megaprojects that start to redraw the skyline of Kinshasa.

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MLA
Fivez, Robby. Consuming Kinshasa : Private Developers and Their City-Building Projects during the Colonial and Post-Colonial Era. 2017.
APA
Fivez, R. (2017). Consuming Kinshasa : Private developers and their city-building projects during the colonial and post-colonial era. Presented at the II INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “AFRICAN URBAN PLANNING,” Lisbon.
Chicago author-date
Fivez, Robby. 2017. “Consuming Kinshasa : Private Developers and Their City-Building Projects during the Colonial and Post-Colonial Era.” In .
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Fivez, Robby. 2017. “Consuming Kinshasa : Private Developers and Their City-Building Projects during the Colonial and Post-Colonial Era.” In .
Vancouver
1.
Fivez R. Consuming Kinshasa : Private developers and their city-building projects during the colonial and post-colonial era. In 2017.
IEEE
[1]
R. Fivez, “Consuming Kinshasa : Private developers and their city-building projects during the colonial and post-colonial era.,” presented at the II INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “AFRICAN URBAN PLANNING,” Lisbon, 2017.
@inproceedings{8578617,
  abstract     = {{The contemporary urban landscape of Kinshasa is scattered with numerous billboards presenting shiny 3D-renders of urban megaprojects, often flanked by city-advertising slogans that promise a bright, global and modern future for the city, to its inhabitants. While these – mostly privately developed – utopias are often understood as a contemporary phenomenon, we can trace back their genealogy to both colonial and post-colonial city-building projects.

Through a profound analysis of the Galeries Albert 1er – a high-rise building developed by a Belgian real-estate tycoon in 1952 – I aim to reveal how already during the 1950’s the inner-city was greatly shaped by private investors. The project, comprising shops, offices and housing, forwarded a bright future for Léopoldville but mainly provided a racially segregated ‘urban’ environment to an exclusively white public.
The paper will then discuss how there is a remarkable echo in this respect with some large-scale urban schemes developed during the Mobutu-era. The most prominent, the Kin-Center – a huge shopping center with a variety of urban functions, developed by a French real-estate group in 1974 – promised to turn the city into a new global metropole, but was rather a city-lite, exclusively accessible to a wealthy public.

By focussing on these shopping center cases, the paper puts an often ignored built production on the table, that is to a large extent defined by private investors and their market driven logics. Understanding these principles could however be of great use when assessing the modern-day megaprojects that start to redraw the skyline of Kinshasa.}},
  author       = {{Fivez, Robby}},
  language     = {{und}},
  location     = {{Lisbon}},
  title        = {{Consuming Kinshasa : Private developers and their city-building projects during the colonial and post-colonial era.}},
  year         = {{2017}},
}