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Title:Medieval planning in Islamic West Africa: the African factor: [paper] presented at the twenty-fifth annual meeting of the African Studies Association, Washington, D.C., November 4-7, 1982
Author:Aradeon, Susan B.
City of publisher:Washington, DC
Geographic term:West Africa
urban planning
Abstract:Considers certain aspects of the planning of Kumbi-Saleh, Timbuctoo and Kano - three of the key commercial centres in the trans-Sahara/Sudanese trade - in order to focus on the question of external influences versus internal evolution for the physical plans of West African medieval cities. Concentrating on the complex vaulting techniques of the Hausa master masons, the author has not been able to find any parallel in North Africa, despite vague references to North African origins in the literature. It is suggested that the presence of a 'Maghribian' atmosphere in West African cities and towns - flat roofs, courtyard dwellings, high blank walls - is the inevitable result of the concentration of large rural African populations within compact human settlements rather than the result of African imitation of Arab/Berber architecture and planning.