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The Politics of 'Non-Planning' Interventions in African Cities: Unravelling the International and Local Dimensions in Harare and Maputo
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
2010 (English)In: Journal of Southern African Studies, ISSN 0305-7070, E-ISSN 1465-3893, Vol. 36, no 4, 889-912 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Urban planning bases its interventionist strategies on the reasoning that change has to be rationally managed and that control is necessary in the 'public interest'. In Africa, for various bureaucratic and political reasons, urban planning has often been notoriously lax. In the face of uncontrolled urban development, many urban governments have abandoned comprehensive planning and increasingly resort to ad-hoc 'sanitising' measures of various kinds. This paper explores the forces and rationales that lie behind the intensified use of such 'non-planning' strategies. It draws on examples from Harare and Maputo, where urban authorities applied forceful measures to remove unplanned settlements and market places. In these cases the forces at work behind the scenes included the political strategies of elites seeking to maintain and strengthen political control over urban areas, rationalising and legitimising such unpopular interventions by appealing to ongoing efforts at 'city marketing' through international events, and referring to the imperative of upholding a modern city image. We discuss the tensions that arose from these decisions and the subsequent political processes among the intended 'victims', and between them and the authorities. In comparing and contrasting the cases of Harare and Maputo, we bring out the dilemmas of planning resorting to 'non-planning' and the complex politics triggered by such interventions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 36, no 4, 889-912 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68187DOI: 10.1080/03057070.2010.527643ISI: 000285200400010OAI: diva2:472163
authorCount :2Available from: 2012-01-03 Created: 2012-01-03 Last updated: 2012-01-03Bibliographically approved

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Lindell, Ilda
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