The history of African cities is ancient. For instance, we know today that urbanisation in Africa existed long before Arab and Portuguese influences. However, while this urban history is ancient, it is clear that Europeans introduced a new type of city based on grid patterns and ‘monumental’ architecture. In the colonial era, the ‘real’ city was that of the whites (founded on the European economy), while ‘indigenous’ areas were not considered part of the city and tended to be identified with the village model (i.e. without rules). The importation of traditional village building techniques further reinforced this idea.