The production of an African hybrid city.

Pucciarelli, Marta and Vannini, Sara and Cantoni, Lorenzo (2016) The production of an African hybrid city. In: Association of American Geographers’ annual meeting, 29.03.2016-02.04.2016, San Francisco, USA. (Unpublished)

Full text not available from this repository.


The influence of the digital space over the physical one is intensively discussed in information geography and the production of space discourses (Zook & Graham, 2007). This paper explores the hybrid space of Douala, the largest metropolis of Cameroun, aiming at understanding how the digital Douala is (mis)aligned with the physical city and how, in this developing infrastructures-deficient context, the digital is influencing the physical space. This research is grounded on the results of an analytical study on the visible and invisible spaces of Douala (Pucciarelli, Vannini, & Cantoni, 2014). Herein, we further analyse online visible and invisible spaces with the local representation of urban landmarks and touristic points of interest. These have been elicited during a two-month ethnographic study - from November to December 2013 - through interviews to local residents who communicate information about the city only orally (n=30), and who communicate information about the city (also) digitally (n=15); to foreigners (visitors and expatriates) through questionnaires (n=130), and sketched maps (n=10). This paper argues that there is a limited convergence between urban landmarks and visible neighbourhoods. However, the touristic points of interest expressed and represented by the three social groups interviewed overlap with the visible Douala. With few exceptions, the foreigners’ paths in Douala can be overlaid on the digital representation of the city. This might be an indicator of the way the African hybrid city is at its early stage of existence, which digital existence is currently mainly addressed to (and influencing) an international public that travels to or lives in Douala, rather than locals, who might (not) access online information. Reflections on the way ICTs are bridging or furthering the divides, and on the interlocutors of the hybrid city are, and who recognizes its existence also provided. Pucciarelli, M., Vannini, S., & Cantoni, L. (2014). Mapping the digital Douala: lights and shadows of an African City. In Proceedings of CIRN 2014 Community Informatics Conference: Challenges and Solutions. Monash Centre, Prato Italy. Zook, M. A., & Graham, M. (2007). Mapping DigiPlace: geocoded Internet data and the representation of place. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 34, 466–482.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item