Contrasting Sao Paulo’s ‘connecting the dots’ initiative and the ghost city of Orso in China: two exhibits at the ‪#‎IABR‬. One of the most disturbing documentaries I have ever seen is looping its way around at the #IABR exhibition in Rotterdam. It is about a city in Mongolia that was built using wealth created by coal mining profits. Problem was, the city was not built for people – after completion, it was a ghost town. So to resolve this, government authorities launched a campaign to evict farmers from their land in the surrounding region. The documentary is about the incredibly tragic process of relocating these illiterate farmers into gleaming apartment blocks, some without even knowing whether or not they had jobs. Most had to be taught how to flush a toilet and switch on a stove. And as they lose their connections with the land, so dies an ancient culture of agricultural production. What is left if a museum in the city of how people used to live. And all this in ten years! Contrast this with the ‘connecting the dots’ initiative by the Government of Sao Paulo in Brazil. This is a deeply urban city built by the powerful confluence of households who built settlements, investors who built formal areas and massive public infrastructure investments. It is a place of complex and old urban cultures. Connecting the Dots is about reconnecting the city to the ecosystems that produce the food that the city needs. The aim is to restore these connections in a way that boosts the production of healthy organic food that then gets supplied to the working class and urban poor via canteens scattered across the city. Disconnecting people from the land to copy of caricature of urbanism in China is not the model that should be followed in Africa. We should learn from Sao Paulo who realize the value of these connections, and are even prepared to invest in re-establishing them. Most African cities remain connected to their food producing hinterlands, but this is being broken by South African supermarkets that are mushrooming in African cities – they capture the middle class spend, and important their food from around the world, especially South Africa. This is a recipe for disaster. African cities must stop South African supermarkets entirely or force them to buy local, following the example of Sao Paulo.