On handling urban informality in southern Africa

Kamete, A.Y. (2013) On handling urban informality in southern Africa. Geografiska Annaler. Series B: Human Geography, 95(1), pp. 17-31. (doi:10.1111/geob.12007)

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In this article I reconsider the handling of urban informality by urban planning and management systems in southern Africa. I argue that authorities have a fetish about formality and that this is fuelled by an obsession with urban modernity. I stress that the desired city, largely inspired by Western notions of modernity, has not been and cannot be realized. Using illustrative cases of top–down interventions, I highlight and interrogate three strategies that authorities have deployed to handle informality in an effort to create or defend the modern city. I suggest that the fetish is built upon a desire for an urban modernity based on a concept of formal order that the authorities believe cannot coexist with the “disorder” and spatial “unruliness” of informality. I question the authorities' conviction that informality is an abomination that needs to be “converted”, dislocated or annihilated. I conclude that the very configuration of urban governance and socio-economic systems in the region, like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, renders informality inevitable and its eradication impossible.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www3.interscience.wiley.com
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kamete, Dr Amin
Authors: Kamete, A.Y.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Geografiska Annaler. Series B: Human Geography
ISSN (Online):1468-0467
Published Online:28 February 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Author
First Published:First published in Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography 95(1):17-31
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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