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Concrete City. Material Flows and Urbanization in West Africa

Author / Authors:

  • Armelle Choplin


Armelle Choplin (2023). Concrete City. Material Flows and Urbanization in West Africa. Wiley.


Description: Concrete City: Material Flows and Urbanization in West Africa delivers a theoretically informed, ethnographic exploration of the African urban world through the life of concrete. Emblematic of frenetic urban and capitalistic development, this material is pervasive, shaping contemporary urban landscapes and societies and their links to the global world. It stands and circulates at the heart of major financial investments, political forces and environmental debates. At the same time, it epitomises values of modernity and success, redefining social practices, forms of dwelling and living, and popular imaginaries.

The book invites the reader to follow bags of cement from production plant to construction site, along the 1000-kilometre urban corridor that links Abidjan to Accra, Lomé, Cotonou and Lagos, combining the perspectives of cement tycoons, entrepreneurs and political stakeholders, but also of ordinary men and women who plan, build and dream of the Concrete City. With this innovative exploration of urban life through concrete, Armelle Choplin delivers a fascinating journey into and reflection on the sustainability of our urban futures.


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