Development Implications of Colonial Land and Human Settlement Schemes in Cameroon

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Cameroon, Colonial urban planning, Land-use planning, Human settlements

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This article analyses the implications of colonial land-use policies for contemporary development efforts in Cameroon. The discussion draws extensively, but not exclusively, on the experience of five of the country's urban centres, Douala, Yaounde, Bamenda, Buea and Tiko, in which some of the most notorious colonial land acquisition and land-use planning schemes were implemented. It is argued that the residual effects of these schemes significantly impede contemporary development efforts, particularly in the following areas, transportation, urbanization, resource distribution, food self-sufficiency, and tradition/culture. It is concluded that, despite the tendency on the part of the post-colonial leadership to vigorously maintain these policies, they were never designed with post-colonial development endeavours in mind. Rather, they were crafted specifically to promote colonial and imperial development objectives. Therefore, post-colonial authorities will do well to enact more innovative land-use legislation in concert with prevailing socio-economic conditions and development objectives.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Habitat International, v. 26, issue 3, p. 399-415