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A major component of efforts to universalize French urbanism is the introduction of French urban design schemes in foreign lands. Official pronouncements extoll such schemes as efforts to promote the healthy, effective and efficient functioning of built space. However, a critical examination of the raison d’être of these efforts suggests that they are designed to accomplish other less glamorous goals of the French imperial project. In this chapter I contend that the acculturation of “racial/cultural others” constitutes, and remains, primordial amongst these goals. This raison d’être of French urbanism abroad has largely escaped the attention of analysts. Yet, the need to pay attention to the impact of supplanting the indigenous spatial norms of ‘racial/cultural others’ with French/Western varieties cannot be overstated. This chapter identifies and analyses some of these implications. In addition, the chapter presents an outline of the entire book.
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- Rationale for French Colonial Urbanism
Ambe J Njoh
- Chapter 1