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Urban Enclaving: Private city development and the transformation of Africa’s urban fringes.

Authors: Austin Ablo*, University of Ghana
Topics: Africa
Keywords: Urban, enclave, private urbanism, urban fringe, Africa, Ghana, Accra
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The expansion of African cities over the past decades created housing deficits and produced a pluralisation of forms of the urban, including the emergence and growth of slums. With immediate affordable housing needs estimated at 400 million units, African cities have expanded beyond the ability of development to keep pace. The limited capacity of many African governments to provide adequate and affordable housing has created a void in the housing sector which has seen the emergence and growth of what ‘privatised urbanism’. The private cities are considered as a solution to the numerous urban management challenges facing African cities and a ‘quick fix’ to the sprawling of the region’s cities. Private city development requires large scale land acquisition which is underpinned by social divisions, political fissures and deeper socio-cultural and economic divisions. Drawing on James Ferguson’s use of enclaves that describes the delinking of resource extraction from the rest of society as a conceptual tool, the paper examines private urban development in Ghana. Focusing on the case of the Appolonia City of Light, a 941-hector private city located north of Accra Ghana, the paper examine the generative, utopian/dystopian, enacted and lived (attachment/detachment) experience of urban enclaving in sub-Saharan Africa. It shows how urban enclaves result in a change in social relations and livelihoods in the urban fringe.

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