The failures of Kilanba: An Angola Chinese-built ghost town

For an overview, the Chinese built Nova Cidade de Kilamba is a brand-new mixed residential development of 750 eight-story apartment buildings,  schools, and retail units. Nova Cidade de Kilamba is a failed development, “built for people who never move in, they leave those who did with a worthless property they cannot sell.”

In my humble opinion, this 12,355 acres, new-build project epitomizes an example of a lack of participatory planning, social exclusion and lack of dynamism in the planning process. Even so, the failures of Nova Cidade de Kilamba to create new qualities or assets or to attract new residents is a reflection of the extraordinarily top-down and none-inclusive planning approaches, and lack of a democratic political process and planning that governs physical development and planning practices in sub-Saharan Africa.

Just like many other examples, some of the failures these modernist, contemporary cities may be related shows that outcome may not matter if not defined by the expectation or peculiar needs of a community. One that meaningfully connects a community, to bring about new levels of economic opportunity and growth, safety and security, health and wellness, and improve the overall quality of life.

This also illustrates a lack of a functioning planning system or a credible network of organizations to enable and coordinate the organization of space as articulated by Van Assche and Verschraegen, 2008. In essence, by learning from the failures of today, the hope is that as the planning system in this part of the world changes over time, spatial planning will become more integrative, to help re-transform Kilamba into a community that synergistically integrates economic opportunity and growth with overall quality of life.