This set of papers emerged from a working group co-convened by Profs. Charles Piot (Cultural Anthropology) and John Bartlett (Duke Global Health Institute). Urban planning in contemporary Africa involves the construction of master-planned, holistically designed, and privately managed enclaves that appear like alien spaceships. While Martin Murray explores their social, political, and economic consequences, Filip DeBoeck examines artists’ detailed models that amalgamate past and contemporary urban architecture in an imaginary African future. Finally, Ato Quayson in an autobiographical play of juxtapositions seeks to capture the kinetic nature of Accra’s city life via “a horizontal archaeology,” showing how seemingly self-contained phenomena are intertwined. Together this group of “think pieces” demonstrates fascinating new approaches to reading African cities, offering lessons and perspectives missed in scholarship focusing exclusively on Western cities.