This panel adopts land as a conflictual entry point onto the peri-urban research agenda in Africa. It sheds light on the political economy of land accumulation and value capture, in a context of urban sprawl, increasing land grabs, rampant speculation, new land uses and models of planning for cities
Much of the predicted growth of African cities occurs through processes of rapid expansion into the peri-urban interface. What does this mean for evolving urban-rural dynamics? This panel adopts land as an increasingly conflictual entry point onto this salient urban research agenda. It sheds light on the political economy of land accumulation and land value capture in the rural fringes of African cities, in a context of increasing land grabs, changing land uses, rampant speculation and the introduction of new, often imported, models of land management and planning. Who are the actors of these refashioned land markets? Are they connected to more obviously 'urban' stakeholders? Do markets work in segmented or unifying ways? Are we witnessing the emergence of distinct or hybrid alliances trying to capture land values? Who are the winners, and conversely who is losing, in these processes of land selling and acquisition? To what extent do these urban trends resemble or differ from agricultural land grabs? Relatedly, what are the mechanisms legitimising these renewed land activities? Do they lead to redistributive processes, through taxation, clientelism or any informal means? Are they particularly targeted at the financing of much-needed urban infrastructure in increasingly marketised environments? The peri-urban interface is at the heart of intense conflicts of interest on land resources. This panel seeks to shed light on the socio-economic underpinnings of the making of the African 'urban'. It welcomes papers that adopt a comparative or single case-study research approach.