With the end of the Angolan Civil War, in 2002, Luanda embarked on an irresistible course of regeneration. The country’s abundant natural resources have attracted massive foreign investment which, in accordance with the abiding policy of “progress”, is irremediably transforming the city’s social and spatial order.
Official city planning strategies often seem aloof from Luanda’s cultural and geographic contexts. They have so far largely ignored the vitality pervading the city’s informal territories, preferring to replace them with imported urban models. Entire neighbourhoods are being relocated to new resettlement colonies on the outskirts of the city, to make space for speculation-fuelled real estate projects.
This film proposes an alternative, more inclusive, approach to urbanity, whilst covering the city’s topography by land, water and air. Interviews with ordinary citizens currently living in one Luanda’s most central informal neighbourhoods (therefore one of those most at risk), serve as an introduction to the idea of informality as a coherent possibility, one deserving a proper place in the city’s metabolism.
The inhabitant’s accounts, presented throughout the film, underline the existence of a genuine dialogue between the neighbourhood and the city (and therefore the world). They uncover reciprocal relations between the private and the collective, between biography and history. They challenge the prevailing cliché, one promoting a (rich) “global city” surrounded by (desperate) “run-down shantytowns”. Luanda is far more complex matter.
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