Dar es Salaam & Dakar: Evictions or property rights in the urban informal economy

A refugee in my own country: Evictions or property rights in the urban informal economy? Urban Studies. Published online before print, August 26, 2014 (doi: 10.1177/0042098014544758)


Normative approaches to urban governance and planning and idealised visions of city space too often result in relocation or forced eviction of street traders and other informal economy workers from public space as a policy of choice. Often a response to a short-term political imperative, clearances take place with little understanding of the interconnected nature of the urban informal economy or widespread poverty impacts that result. As a result, street traders feel ostracised and often describe themselves as refugees.

Drawing on a property rights perspective, and the ‘legal empowerment’ paradigm, this paper compares the major clearances of street traders that took place in Dar es Salaam in 2006–2007 and Dakar in 2007, with very different outcomes for traders. It explores the political initiatives behind the clearances, the dual property rights regimes in both countries, and the different roles of social movements, resulting in emerging political power in one city and passive marginalisation in another. Finally, it argues that the conceptualisation of public space as a hybrid ‘public good’ would allow for a more appropriate property rights regime for the urban informal economy.

Available online at Urban Studies [sub required].



Publication Type Journal Article
Publisher Urban Studies
Year 2014
Author(s) Alison Brown, Colman Msoka, Ibrahima Dankoco
DOI 10.1177/0042098014544758
Read older posts from this section

Leave a Reply