Nouakchott, Mauritania

Nouakchott is the capital of Mauritania, which between its construction in 1955 and the present has grown from 15,000 inhabitants to roughly 2 million.  Designed by French administrators, Nouakchott’s grid embodies many of the principles of their colonial utility in a pre-capitalist setting.  Population growth brought on by desertification saw planning of new districts favor the order this creates, both on a pure functional and political level.  As the city continues to deal with rapid growth, slavery, terrorism, and autocracy, this layout seems to both exacerbate and control issues – while clearly embodying the repressive hierarchy of the society it serves.

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