How Will Wakanda Come to Real Cities?

February 21, 2018

With the new Marvel super-hero movie "Black Panther" breaking attendance records and spurring a huge buzz on the internet and in the media, creators from all walks of life are discussing how it may affect the look of the future. Curbed.com took a look at the reaction to the movie from architects and planners.

"Wakanda’s capital of Birnin Zana is like no other city of the future depicted on screen: It’s lush, textural, and tactical, with a rich variety of architectural styles, building densities, and transportation systems," writer Alissa Walker says, adding that the kingdom is based on a historical location: "Mutapa, which was a powerful trade center encompassing the present-day countries of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Zambia from the 1400s to late 1700s."

Praising the film's designers for avoiding the cliche of "sleek glass towers of uniform height," urbanists are lauding the look of "a type of grassroots urbanism where the residents have customized their structures and their communities to fit their needs," with "'informal' aesthetics of self-built housing and market-places as advanced, peaceful, prosperous rather than backward and lacking," Walker says.

While some commenters are allowing for the need to gloss over some detail, they still regard the environment highly: "I don’t really understand how the trains work in terms of where they stop, etc, but the pedestrian streets and building density in Wakanda are fantastic!" tweeted Yonah Freemark.

"Wakanda shows not a master-planned, top-down metropolis but a type of grassroots urbanism where the residents have customized their structures and their communities to fit their needs," says Walker.

Source: "Wakanda is where every urbanist wants to live," Curbed.com (Feb. 19, 2018)