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Building cities for the future

An exploration of possibilities for an International Building Exhibition in Africa

Article image

Anka Derichs, Michael von der Mühlen, Edgar Pieterse

23 June 2022


uKESA Librarian 3

Guide/ Handbook

South Africa, Germany, Ethiopia

An Internationale BauAusstellung (IBA)(German for International Building Exhibition) can be an instrument to plan, implement and demonstrate the vision of sustainable urban or regional development in tangible projects. Guided by an overarching question or topic that is derived from local contexts and challenges, IBAs explore and test innovative forms of cooperation between public and private stakeholders to implement transformative projects.


Building Cities for the Future: An exploration of possibilities for an IBA in Africa is the culmination of an exploratory process into the relevance of an Internationale BauAusstellungen or “International Building Exhibition” (IBA) in Africa.


Pressing challenges and needs that come from rapid, unplanned urbanisation in Africa urgently call for employing new approaches and instruments. Thus, examining the potential contributions of the German IBA approach and its principles in the African context seems useful and appropriate, although the historical development of European cities has been very different from the territorial development of cities on the African continent. There is a global consensus that in an increasingly complex social, political, economic and environmental context, African urbanisation is a chance and a challenge that cannot be met with top-down strategies, master plans or algorithms alone.


Integrated strategies, managerial capabilities in city administrations, attracting continuous citizens-oriented participation and applying new, creative technical solutions in the urban landscape are pivotal to finding the right urban answers.


Africa Centre for Cities (ACC)  together with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) embarked on this exploration in 2019 with a series of stakeholder engagement workshops which culminated in a synthesis workshop and ultimately this guide (available in PDF here). Key results and findings from the project are summarised therein.


Abstract based on source. 


Website References


Built environment



Human settlements


Public participation

South Africa



Urban development

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