Africa’s ‘resilient cities’ plan for the future

(CNN)The effects of climate change may not be apparent in some parts of the world just yet.

But in Dakar, the battle against nature has already begun, with coastal erosion wreaking havoc on the city’s peninsula that stretches into the Atlantic forcing people to move out of their homes and ruining its long, sandy beaches.
By 2080, more than 300 buildings and 60 percent of its beaches could be gone, according to a 2013 report.
But now, the Senegalese capital of some 2.5 million people is fighting back, with a master plan for tackling the challenges brought on by a changing climate and growing population.

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Challenges in water management bring the threat of infectious disease, in the growing suburban city where poor sewage and drainage systems are unable to cope with heavy rainfall. The contaminated water reserves are an attractive breeding ground for mosquitoes infected with malaria, which remains the country’s leading cause of morbidity and mortality.
Efforts have begun to tackle the issue, with a government scheme to improve clean water access.

Creating the perfect future city

However, a resilient strategy is just a first step. The hard part is still to come for the eleven African cities as they prepare for the future.
Progress is slow, and there will be some time before the foundation starts seeing the impact, Berkowitz says
“The things that really make a city resilient more cohesive communities where neighbors check on neighbors, better transportation, mobility, improved air quality, better built environment and architecture these don’t happen in a year or two, or even three. That’s the work of a generation.”
That said, he is optimistic about the efforts seen in Dakar, which could become “a model of African urbanization.”
“It feels like there’s a lot of energy going in the right direction.”

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