Piecemeal urbanisation at the peripheries of Lagos

Lindsay Sawyer (2014). Piecemeal Urbanisation at the Peripheries of Lagos. African Studies, pp.1–19.

The peripheral contexts of urban agglomerations in sub-Saharan Africa are usually discussed in reference to peri-urban literature, which tends to be largely descriptive rather than theoretically engaged. The urban peripheral contexts of North America and Europe, however, have been highly differentiated as part of suburban literature, with a flood of proposed terms to better address them. The goal of this article, whilst engaging with peri-urban literature, is to confront the urbanisation occurring at the peripheries of Lagos with suburban theory. For the peripheries of sub-Saharan Africa to contribute meaningfully to the suburban debate, they must first be differentiated. This article attempts to show the diversity of forms, actors and processes that are producing peripheral expansion in Lagos, and the complexity and ambiguity of the multiple land systems at work. This challenges any easy assumptions about pervasive poverty and informality in the urban peripheries of Lagos, much less sub-Saharan Africa in general. In conclusion, the relevance and appropriateness of the suburb will be questioned, and its capacity to adequately address the diversity of forms and processes at work in the peripheral urbanisation of Lagos.

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Publication Type Journal article
Publisher African Studies
Year 2014
Author(s) Lindsay Sawyer
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