Urban Planning in Practice: The Cases of Koudougou, Burkina Faso, and Montes Claros, Brasil
At first view, these two cities have few points in common. Koudougou, a little bit more than 100,000 dwellers, is located in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa (Bolay 2015); when Montes Claros, 400,000 inhabitants, is considered as an intermediate city in the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil, one of the most powerful emerging countries (despite the crisis) in the world (Bolay 2016).
But some convergences exist between the 2 cities, too. Both of them play an important and growing role of intermediation linking the city, their hinterland, the region, and other cities in the country, even at international level (more than all through industry in Montes Claros, and with a strong support of external agencies of cooperation in Koudougou).
Koudougou is the capital of the province of Boulkiemde and represents a pole of activities for this regions, with its big city’s market, shops, banks, province and local administrations, and number of delegations of national ministries, university, among other assets. The city is a real platform of exchange, with the agriculture producers of the region, and with Ouagadougou, capital of the Burkina Faso, only 100 km from there with one of the rare excellent roads in the country. These elements explain in large part that urban growth of Koudougou stays largely dominated by a continuous flow of rural immigrants. In turns, the city of Montes Claros, even not capital of the State of Minas Gerais, is the main urban pole in the Northern part of this State. Having during decades be the center of distribution of agriculture products from this region, these activities continue, but gradually overtaken, since the 1970’, by the establishment of many industrial enterprises, national and foreign branches, and more and more by new private and public services for the whole population of Northern Minas Gerais (universities, hospitals, shopping centers, banks and so on ...) (Figs. 1, 2).
Fig. 1 Suburb of Koudougou (Photo Bolay 2014)
Fig. 2 New social housing settlement in Montes Claros (Photo Bolay 2015)