The shape of Dakar’s risk flows: an emergent assemblage of youth, political entrepreneurs and flood mitigation programmes

Authors: Alejandro Barcena*, King's College London
Topics: Urban Geography, Hazards and Vulnerability, Africa
Keywords: Assemblage, risk, virtual, urban, Southern
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 19
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Critical scholars concerned with disaster risk has emphasised the role of capitalism in shaping urbanisation processes and their associated production of uneven risk landscapes. This body of research has been effective in opening the analytical lenses of previous scholarship, which focused on the role of hazards. While this approach has acknowledged the pressures derived from both humans and non-humans, it has failed to explain the mutual shaping of their agencies in the production and distribution of risk. This analytical limitation is of particular importance in rapidly urbanising environments, where urban assemblages reconfigure and re-emerge in short time scales, constantly reshaping urban risk flows and landscapes.
Responding to this analytical gap, this paper examines the production and distribution of urban risk in Pikine, a peri-urban area of Dakar. Pikine urbanised rapidly from the 1970s until the end of the 2000s, concentrates the largest informal settlements in Senegal and has been affected by floods since 1995. Pikine is regarded by political parties in Senegal as a critical constituency to win national elections. The case study shows the urban trajectory of Pikine since the 1980s until 2012, where an assemblage of youth and political entrepreneurs emerged, connected through relations mediated by flood mitigation programmes. This assemblage transformed the possibility space of Dakar’s urbanisation by winning the municipal elections and pressing the Government and International donors to fund the construction of a network of flood drainage canals. These canals transferred Pikine’s flood risk to other areas of Dakar

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