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City, Architecture and Colonial Space in Matadi and Lubumbashi, Congo

This research investigates how specific colonial urban spaces in Central Africa developed between 1885 and 1960 not only as the result of top-down planning processes but also via social processes within their ‘cosmopolitan’ communities. On one hand, the physical urban form is studied on various scales (city, neighbourhood, street, building) from a translocal perspective that counters the common historiographical argument highlighting, in particular, the import from the metropole to the colony. On the other hand, migration trajectories are investigated through a social-demographical analysis to bring to the fore other urban actors.

The research focuses on two cities in Congo, DRC: Lubumbashi and Matadi. It builds upon extensive archival research and fieldwork and makes use of new forms of cartography and oral history.

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