Ideology and Public Health Elements of Human Settlement Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa

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colonial town planning in Africa, town planning ideology, public health ideology, urban public health, hygiene and sanitation, public health policies and politics

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This paper employs town planning policies to suggest that ideology and not objective science or a genuine desire to promote development is at the root of development policies in African countries. It identifies and discusses four ideologies: indigenous elitism (pre-colonial era – 1884); European racism (colonial era, 1884–1960s); modernism (1960–1980s); and globalism (1990s–present); that have been at the root of public health elements of town planning in Africa since the pre-colonial era. With the exception of indigenous elitism, all the ideologies are alien to Africa. The problems associated with ideology as the basis of development policy are magnified when the ideology is of the imported variety than when it is native. Planners in Africa are advised to either ‘Africanize’ received health elements of planning policies—that is, endow such policies with relevant attributes of African culture—or adopt only those policies that already possess such attributes.

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Cities, v. 26, issue 1, p. 9-18