Colonial cities and history of the Africans, Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch. Africa has long been considered a vast rural continent in which urbanization developed at the impulse of colonizers. In fact, although marginal, African cities are ancient and have had a life of their own alongside western establishments. Since the early 1960s, urbanism has become the major phenomenon in black Africa. In 1990, the urban population will be larger than the rural population. The colonial city, from this point of view, initiated this process. But African town planners, trained in Western techniques and molds, will nevertheless have to integrate their customary heritage and the necessities of modern planning.