Env11
Housing (in)security and (in)formality: the production of uncertainty in state-led housing projects in African cities

Convenors:
Sophie Oldfield (University of Cape Town/University of Basel)
Ademola Omoegun (University of Lagos)
Stream:
Environment and Geography
Location:
David Hume, Lecture Theatre B
Sessions:
Wednesday 12 June, 10:45-12:15, 14:15-15:45

Short abstract:

The panel examines the contingent encounters evident in state-led housing projects in African cities and examines the uncertain after-lives of ordinary urbanites in such contexts, exploring the paradoxical ways housing projects can produce uncertainty for ordinary African urbanites.

Long abstract:

This panel explores state-led housing initiatives in African cities to examine the paradoxical ways in which such projects produce uncertainty for ordinary African urbanites that aspire to, and become, homeowners. In African urbanites' search for decent and dignified housing, how do they encounter the state and its bureaucratic, technological, and socio-material processes? In what ways do these encounters shape uncertainty and its temporalities on the short and long term? Through exploration of the everyday lived experience of state housing bureaucracy and management, the papers will track and analyse the contingent, material, bureaucratic and political practices that shape state-led housing projects and, through them, relationships between African urbanities and state officials and institutions on multiple levels of governance. Through tracking and analyzing the contingent and often surprising encounters evident in housing projects, and by examining the after-lives of ordinary urbanites in these contexts, the panel will challenge reductionist assumptions that formality leads to security of homes, reworking instrumental and technical understandings of the relationship between (in)security and (in)formality in practice.