Reconsidering Informality: Perspectives from Urban Africa


This book brings together two bodies of research on urban Africa that have tended to be separate, studies of urban land use and housing and studies of work and livelihoods. Africa's future will be increasingly urban, and the inherited legal, institutional and financial arrangements for managing urban development are inadequate. Access to employment, shelter and services is precarious for most urban residents. The result is the phenomenal growth of the informal city. Extra-legal housing and unregistered economic activities proliferate and basic urban services are increasingly provided informally. Recent decades of neo-liberal political and economic reforms have increased social inequality across urban space. After an introductory chapter by the editors, the contributions are grouped into the following sections: - LOCALITY, PLACE, AND SPACE - ECONOMY, WORK, AND LIVELIHOODS - LAND, HOUSING, AND PLANNING The case studies are drawn from a diverse set of cities on the African continent. A central theme is how practices that from an official standpoint are illegal or extra-legal do not only work but are considered legitimate by the actors concerned. Another is how the informal city is not exclusively the domain of the poor, but also provides shelter and livelihoods for better-off segments of the urban population.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Karen Tranberg Hansen
  • Mariken Vaa
  • Gabriel Tati
  • Knut G. Nustad
  • Ilda Lourenço-Lindell
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Uppsala
Publication year:
  • 2004


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