Street enterprises, urban livelihoods and poverty in Kinshasa

Unemployment and poverty are currently the main preoccupations of people in Kinshasa. State bankruptcy has prevented the formal economy from stemming a rising tide of poverty, making the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) one of the poorest countries in the world in terms of living standards.

Rwanda’s political settlement and the urban transition: expropriation, construction and taxation in Kigali

Tom Goodfellow (2014). Rwanda’s political settlement and the urban transition: expropriation, construction and taxation in Kigali. Journal of Eastern African Studies Vol. 8(2). pgs 311-329.   Abstract Although still predominantly rural, Rwanda is one of the world’s fastest urbanizing countries. This paper considers the Rwandan Patriotic Front’s (RPF) approach to urban development in the context of […]

The potential of rainwater harvesting: the case of the city of Windhoek, Namibia

Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, has experience for more than 25 years of novel approaches in integrated water management largely driven by the scarcity of water in the area. Notably absent in their approaches however, is the rooftop rainwater harvesting which is regarded as one of the viable alternative sources of water for domestic use. This paper […]

Residents’ socio-cultural dissatisfaction in the two stages of public housing in Cairo, Egypt: What has changed in the third ‘current’ one?

As a result of the criticism of the conventional, mainly Western-inspired, prototypical designs for low-income public housing in Cairo, Egypt, a new trend in design for this sort of housing represented by the ‘Youth’ and the ‘Future’ housing projects has been adopted by the Egyptian government in the recent 15 years. If the main objective of any housing project is to meet the residents’ needs and preferences, so the question is: Has the current design of the national housing project…

Urban Fortresses: Gated communities as a reaction to crime

One of the consequences of the state’s inability to protect the life and property of all its citizens—especially in developing countries—is the formation of private alternatives to crime prevention and control. Gated communities, or enclosed neighbourhoods, are one such popular alternative. This article compares the phenomenon of gated communities in two developing countries: South Africa and Brazil. Both countries are plagued by violent crime and share…

The changing spatial economy of cities: An exploratory analysis of Cape Town

The spatial economy of South African cities is generally believed to be experiencing selective deconcentration, which may exacerbate social inequality because of the physical disconnection between jobs and population. This paper assesses whether the locational pattern of economic activity across Cape Town is following this trajectory, using data from the Regional Service Council levies between 2001 and 2005. One of the main findings is that the city centre and areas close to the centre have maintained their economic dominance, therefore Cape Town remains a monocentric city. Yet the pattern of recent growth is more dispersed…

Rising Diabetes Prevalence among Urban-Dwelling Black South Africans

Diabetes has globally emerged as a major public health challenge of the 21stcentury. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where diabetes was considered rare prior to the 1990s, has also witnessed a rise in the burden. Studies conducted 10–20 years ago found that diabetes prevalence varied across the region. There are, however, limited data as to the extent of the rise. In urban Tanzania rates increased from 0.3% in the 1980s to 4.6% in 1996 according to the 1998 WHO criteria, and in urban Cameroon from 1.5% in the 1990s to 6.6% in 2003.

Reshaping Cities, Rebuilding Nations: The Role of National Urban Policies

The challenges of rapid urbanisation in large parts of Africa are beyond the capacity of local government to manage. The paper explores the arguments for a national urban policy to complement local strategies, reflecting the unique power of the central state and the special circumstances of cities. With appropriate support, urbanisation could become a more positive force for economic and human development. Recent experience in South Africa illustrates some of the difficulties and possibilities for agreeing a systematic approach to planning and managing…

Security in Niamey: an anthropological perspective on policing and an act of terrorism in Niger*

The abduction of two Frenchmen in January 2011 in Niamey’s supposedly most secure neighbourhood has led many to question the functioning of the city’s security apparatus. This paper analyses Niamey’s security landscape, initially from an historical and then from a spatial perspective. It argues that for a comprehensive analysis of security, we must first decentre our perspective on security construction, and thus take informal non-organised modes of policing just as seriously as policing by state and vigilante organisations; and second, take into…