Urban Forum

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 129–147 | Cite as

Between the City Lights and the Shade of Exclusion: Post-War Accelerated Urban Transformation of Luanda, Angola

  • Cristina Udelsmann RodriguesEmail author
  • Sónia Frias


With nearly five centuries of history and major war-related impacts in the second half of the twentieth century, Luanda has recently been subject to outstanding changes that make the capital of Angola an important urban case study for Africa. Today, the city is not only an evident materialization of the oil wealth being channelled into reconstruction after decades of civil war but also reflects and translates the diverse perspectives of its residents and policy makers regarding the city and urban life. As it is reconfigured, it also transforms the mentalities and daily lives of urban dwellers and policy stakeholders, reinforcing the idea of improvement and modernity. In order to better understand the processes of physical and social change that have taken place within the city and the intertwined logics, this article makes reference to three distinct key stages of its history, pointing out their main features and the transformations that have occurred: the colonial period of sociospatial dualization (1576–1974), the period between independence and the last peace agreement (1975–2002) of profound and extensive urban mixture and the post-war period (2002–present) marked by accelerated sociospatial reconfigurations. More specifically, it analyses the very recent urban phenomena, the urban plans and new urban features, discussing the correlations between physical transformations and the rationalities and perspectives that accompany them, both of the urban planners and of the urban dwellers, discussing the implications in terms of new inclusions and exclusions in the city.


Angola Urban transformation Modernity Sociospatial reconfiguration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nordic Africa InstituteUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Institute of Social and Political SciencesUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Centro de Estudos sobre África, Ásia e América Latina (CEsA), CSG, ISEG, University of LisbonLisbonPortugal

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