Toponymic Inscription, Physical Addressing and the Challenge of Urban Management in an Era of Globalization in Cameroon

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Cameroon, Globalization, House numbering, Mailing system, Physical address, Property identification, Street naming, Toponyms, Toponymic inscription

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The paper focuses on the problem of non-descript spatial structures, characterized by the absence of street and place names as well as the lack of unambiguous physical addresses in Cameroon. Initially, the problem is examined in its continental context. Then, it is discussed with specific reference to Cameroon. It is noted that efforts on the part of Cameroonian authorities to address the problem have at best been half-hearted. In particular, the efforts have been limited to the country's two largest cities, Douala and Yaounde, and have focused exclusively on street and place naming while ignoring the lack of physical addresses. It is noted that the toponymic inscription problem, and especially the absence of physical addresses, limit the chances of benefiting from the advantages offered by the globalization process for Cameroon and other African countries. It recommends some steps that can be adopted in efforts to deal with this problem. Prominent in this regard is a proposed unambiguous physical addressing system that builds on Cameroon's extant geo-administrative and vehicle matriculation system.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Habitat International, v. 34, issue 4, p. 427-435