Main Article Content

Taibat Lawanson
Taofiki Salau
Omoayena Yadua


Liveability, Liveable city, Africa, Governance, Poverty, Quality of life


This paper attempts to conceptualize the liveable African City using indices of liveability as advanced by Africans. The concepts of City Liveability and the City as a living system are used as the theoretical underpinnings to the study. A purposive online questionnaire survey of 453 Africans, living both in Africa and the Diaspora was conducted to elicit their perspectives on what they consider the most important indices for a Liveable African City. The data was disaggregated on locational basis. This was done to determine whether ones location i.e. living at home or in the Diaspora contributes significantly to one’s opinion on the identified issues. Issues investigated include governance, safety and security, culture and global identity, environmental indices and infrastructure. Furthermore, the inherent contradictions between western and African concepts of liveability were examined. The study revealed that 67% of all respondents consider governance to be the most important determinant of city liveability. Cultural heritage and city image were considered the least important indices of urban liveability. In determining the choice of where to live, 82.2% of respondents consider quality of life, while few differentials existed based on location, safety and security, particularly violent crime and the threat of terror were considered extremely important by respondents living in the Diaspora. The study concludes by recommending the application of broad based urban management strategies combined with good urban governance mechanisms to improve city liveability across the continent.

Abstract 143 | PDF Downloads 222


Abdul Aziz, N and Hadi, A (2007), ‘Linking Urban Form to a Liveable City’, Malaysian Journal of Environmental Management, Vol 8 (1) pp 101 122
Casselati, A. (1997). ‘The Nature of Livability’ in Lennard, SH (eds). Making Cities Livable. International Making Cities Livable Conferences, California, USA: Godolier Press.
CitiesPLUS, (2003) A Sustainable Urban System: The Long term Plan for Greater Vancouver. Vancouver, Canada
Cools, B. (1997) “The Future of the City” In Lennard, S. H., S von Ungern Sternberg, H.L. Lennard, eds. Making Cities Livable. International Making Cities Livable Conferences. California, USA: Gondolier Press
Crush, J. and S. Ramachandran. (2009). “Xenophobia, International Migration, and Human Development.” Human. Development Research Paper No. 47.
Douglass, M., Trung Q. L, Cameron K. L, Hao.T N, Pham. A. N, Thai N.D, & Yulinawati. H. (2004). The livability of mega urban regions in Southeast Asia Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta and Manila compared. International Conference on The Growth Dynamics of Mega Urban Regions in East and Southeast Asia, 24 25 June 2004, Singapore.
Eastaway, M.P. & Stoa, E. (2004). Dimensions of housing and urban sustainability, Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, Vol 19, pp1 5.
Economist Intelligence unit (2012) ‘A Summary of the Liveability Ranking and Overview’
Evans, P, ed. (2002). Livable Cities? Urban Struggles for Livelihood and Sustainability, California: University of California Press Ltd.
Gershenson, C. (2011).‘ Living in Living Cities’, C3 Report 2011.09.
Girardet, H. (1999). ‘Creating Sustainable Cities’, Devon, UK: Green Books for The Schumacher Society
Girardet, H. (2004). ‘Cities people planet’, liveable cities for a sustainable world. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Hadi, A.S., S. Idrus, A.H.H. Shah and A.F. Mohamed, (2007). ‘Shaping Livable Cities for Malaysia’, In Modelling Local Sustainability: Developing a Conceptual Framework for Sustainable Development, Hadi, A.S., S. Idrus, A.H.H. Shah, A.F. Mohamed and N.M. Hamim (Eds.). LESTARI, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, pp: 11 18.
Hanczyc,M. (2011) ‘The line between life and non life’, TED Videos,
Hadi .I.S, Shah.A, Mohamed.A, (2008), ‘Spatial Urban Metabolism For Livable City’, In Proceedings Of Blueprints For Sustainable Infrastructure Conference. December 9 12, 2008. Auckland, New Zealand
Lakhina, (2011), ‘Cities as living systems’, The disaster library, as living systems by shefali j
Land, K. (1996). ‘Social indicators and the quality of life: Where do we stand in the mid
1990s?’ SINET: Social Indicators Network News 45:5 8.
Leung, M.(2004), ‘KCRC Linear City Research Project. Module 4.1: Precedents/International Examples’, Final Report April 13, 2004
Ling,C, Hamiliton, J. and Thomas,K. (2007) What makes a city liveable? In
Marans.R. W and Stimson. R. J (Eds.) (2011), ‘Investigating Quality of Urban Life: Theory, Methods and Empirical Research’, Social Indicators Research Series, Volume 45, Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 453.
McGee, T. (1971) ‘The Urbanization Process in The Third World’ –– Explorations in search of a Theory. 3rd edition. London: Bell & Hyman Limited
Mercer Human Resource Consulting (2011) ‘Quality--of--Living Reports 2011’ Information available:
Mitchelle, (2007) ‘Intelligent cities’, Inaugural lecture of the UOC 2007--2008 Academic Year, uocpapers, e--journal of knowledge, iss. 5 (2007) | ISSN 1885--1541
Myers, D. (1988). ‘Building knowledge about quality of life for urban planning’ Journal of the American Planning Association Vol 54, pp 347--358
New York Times (2010) ‘The Best Place to Live?’ New York Times May 27th 2010
Oktay, D. (2012)’Editorial: Quality of Life in Cities’, Urban Design and Planning. Vol 165 (Issue DP 3)
Pacione M (2005) ‘Urban Geography: a Global Perspective’ Routledge Publishing and Co, New York, USA.
Partners for Livable Communities (2000) ‘The Livable City: Revitalizing Urban Communities’ New York: McGraw--Hill, Inc.
Salzano, E. (1997) ‘Seven Aims for the Livable City’ in Lennard, S. (eds). Making Cities Livable. International Making Cities Livable Conferences, California: Godolier Press.
Southworth,M. (2007) ‘Morphology of the Liveable City’ , In: Urban Forms and Metropolitan Spaces April 2--3 2007, Roma, Università degli Studi di Roma Sapienza, Facoltà di Ingegneria, BERKELY .IT
Timmer, V. and Seymour, N. (2006), ‘The Livable City’. The World Urban Forum 2006 –– Vancouver Working Group Discussion Paper. International Centre for Sustainable Cities
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (1996) ‘Habitat Agenda-- The Global Plan of Action’ Adopted by the International Community at the Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, Turkey.
UN Habitat (2010) ‘State of the World’s Cities Report’ 2010/2011’, London: UNHABITAT
Weinstock, M. (2011), ‘The Metabolism of the City: The Mathematics of Networks and Urban Surfaces’ . Archit Design, Volume 81, Issue 4, pages 102––107 doi: 10.1002/ad.1275

Similar Articles

1-10 of 134

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.