Italy had its urbanization’s climax during the 1970s: people migrated from the south to the north to look for a job and for better conditions.
In southern Italy land was not enough to feed all families and, on the horizon, they saw the mirage of a job inside a factory in a northern city. Milan was an industrial town, unique in its centre and suburbs. Turin had FIAT, which offered thousands of working places.
All people were moving to the north: they saw the opportunity to find a job and a future. Obviously, their course was full of sacrifices, hard work and public housing. But it was full also of heroic people, rolling their sleeves up and rebuilding their own future. People who managed to reach their mirage: wellness.
The trigger and the main engine for urban migration was work: from the south, people moved towards conditions which would have allowed them to have a home and live in a dignified way.
This process can be possible in African cities only up to a point: African megalopolis are not like some little Italian towns, which have an industrial background. In Africa, in those countries where petroleum is the main resource, the only productive factories are refineries, where petroleum is extracted. And these kinds of factories are often built in the sea, in rivers’ deltas, as it happens near Lagos, or in areas far from the cities. In other countries, called “in transition”, such as Kenya, Ghana, South Africa and Ethiopia, there is still a certain kind of industries, especially the processing one.
However, as in Italy, these are risking being outsourced, as lands are worth more when used for houses and services.
Wangari Maathari says that African cities are not suitable places to work, but just to buy things and to show off.
In social terms, if this is true, the services sector will improve exponentially, especially in big cities, but, unfortunately, it will not create enough job opportunities.