Africa and the city. Constrained urbanisation through forced displacement
Date and Start Time 30 June, 2017 at 14:00
Forced displacement is a key element in urbanization processes in Africa. Temporary or permanent settlements have origin in displacements caused by war, land-grabbing projects or urban development. These new localities can emerge as places of tensions but can also create novel cultural geographies.
Social conflicts, war and/or rapid environmental change often displace thousands of Africans who head to cities in search of protection and better life opportunities. Others find themselves living in refugee camps, which generally outlive the emergency at their origin and commonly become permanent settlements, eventually giving birth to new towns.
Land-grabs due to mega-projects of development are notorious for severe consequences and displaced communities who, pushed out of their ancestral rural lands, move to nearby towns or cities or find themselves gathered into semi-urban resettlements created by governments and the involved companies.
Needless to say, similar situations can be found when urban development projects lead to evictions, leaving the affected populations without any kind of compensation or resettlement offer.
A common feature of urbanization through forced displacement — such as refugee camps and resettlement schemes — is the lack of attention to the social and cultural characteristics of the dispossessed people. A situation that sometimes triggers renewed conflicts and tensions.
Interestingly, this same scenario highlights extraordinary cultural resiliences, where displaced populations build new localities and displaced senses of belonging. This fact deterritorializes culture and enables the emergence of creative and disruptive cultural geographies among the urban fabric.
This panel invites contributions that deal with contexts of urbanization through forced displacement, and that analyse how people appropriate these new urban-like settings, as well as the challenges they involve.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Circulations and urban migration in Ivory Coast: Rethinking durable solutions after the end of the status of Liberian refugees
Based on the representation of Liberian refugees on the security situation and the analysis of the UNHCR and State sectoral policy, there is a discrepancy between expectations and actions taken.
Côte d'Ivoire is a high-migration country in sub-Saharan Africa and the Ivorian population has increased since the armed conflicts between 1999 and 2010.
Today, according to the UNHCR Cote d'Ivoire global report in 2015, some 800,000 people are under the assistance of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). These people are mainly urban refugees, Ivorian returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), most of whom live in the large cities in Ivory Coast. The majority of these people intervene and participate in the economic and social development of cities in Ivory Coast. Their contribution to the political plan (active participation, citizenship), economic (growth and urban development), cultural (cultural exchanges) and social (support to basic social services) is part of the process of local long-term integration. The aim of this communication is to show the social determinants that lead to a rethinking of the integration process of urban refugees and Ivorian returnees. In other words, how are the urban cities in Ivory Coast
are experiencing growth through the active participation of migration actors in Ivory Coast? From a perspective of contributing to issues related to the contribution of migration to the process of urbanization in Ivory Coast, this reflection would involve the social, political and then economic representations that will be made regarding the elaboration of a framework Institutional issues relating to the notions of "citizenship", "regular migration" and "irregular migration".
The relation between forced displacement and the commodification of urban spaces in Southern Africa: The case of Polana Caniço neighbourhood in Maputo
Currently, Southern African cities reflect the impact of expansion of the neoliberal model, usually linked to space commodification. Urban renewal and forced displacements can play an important role, freeing some well-located spaces to the market, such as pericentral self-produced neighbourhoods.
The renewal of pericentral self-produced spaces, based on the tabula rasa of the existing urban fabric and on the peripheralization of groups with less resources, represents one of the main intervention strategies driven by the ongoing commodification of urban spaces in Southern Africa, in the current neoliberal context. Simultaneously, forced displacements represent a key element in urbanization processes. The relation between these dominant practices is what we propose to explore in our paper, taking as a case study Polana Caniço neighbourhood, in Maputo, which is a paradigmatic example of the intense transformation that has been taking place. Strategically located, near the city centre, this self-produced neighbourhood has been the object of: mercantile valorisation processes; slow renewal processes associated with luxury residential projects and a parallel real estate market; (re)construction projects of road infrastructures; and urban plans. Following an approach simultaneously theoretical and empirical, we aim to explore the territorial changes and the interactions and interrelations established between the different agents involved in this multiplicity of processes and projects. With this purpose, we will look at everyday practices and at the actions enunciated by policies, instruments and project proposals. We raise the hypothesis that the urban renewal of the pericentral self-produced spaces can result in forced displacement processes, responding to the dominant interests and promoting a more excluding city, but also generating forces and practices of resistance.
"Check and Balance" around the natural and infrastructural resources: the case of Mbororo nomad refugees in Mandjou village
Access to the local population land in Mandjou Village and to the infrastructures such as drinking water wells managed under the control of the refugees creates conflicts of interest whose ethnic relationship and status plays a predominant role.
Due to the deteriorating security climate, many Mbororo nomadic population have been forced to flee the Central African Republic in recent years. The loss of their vital heritage (cattle herds) is one of the direct consequences of kidnappings, attacks and looting of armed groups. Given this dynamic of insecurity and the plundering of their livestock, many of these nomads find refuge in refugee camps in Cameroon, where their survival no longer depends on their own resources but rather on international organizations. These encampments in question were, at the beginning, of the constructions of circumstance which have become, over time, periurban villages. The data of this study were collected in one of those villages called Mandjou in the periphery of Bertoua; a town in the Eastern region of Cameroon. In that village, the refugees must request permission to exploit the land of the local population in the one hand. On the other hand, they also control the infrastructure that the NGOs have put in place and therefore exploitation is essential for all the inhabitants of the locality . It is in these rapport of constant negotiations that this paper intends to examine the reality of ethnic interaction, territorial control and the management of resources which at the same time constitute factors of rapprochement and discord between refugees and local populations.
'Slum' as a Consequence of Forced Displacement. The Example of Korogocho in Nairobi (Kenya)
In the presentation I will analyze how Korogogocho slum in Nairobi was formed by forcing displacement conducted by the Kenyan government in the 1970s' and the later resettlements from the rural area. I will answer the question of what are the social and cultural consequences of these actions.
Korogocho is one of the most populous slum in Nairobi, estimated to house 42.000 inhabitants. It is located roughly 11 kilometers from the city center. Most of Korogocho land is owned by the goverment and the residents are squatters. Korogocho history dates back to the 1970s forced resettlement carried out by the Kenyan government, aimed at 'cleansing' the city center from the poor.
In my presentation (1) I will analyze how Korogocho was formed as an idea, place and community. I will deal with this theme in relation to literature as well as the narrations of the inhabitants of this slum, who underwent these resettlements or were later forced by the economic situation to move from the countryside to the poorest parts of Nairobi. (2) I will discuss the definition of a slum in the context of displacements and answer the question of how Korogocho 'received the identity' of a slum. In order to do so I will refer to the memories of Korogocho inhabitants who reminisce on the situations in which they have heard for the first time the word "slum" and got to know its "universal" meaning, as well as their stories of the conditions of how their dwelling places "transformed" into a slum. (3) Based on 20 months of participant observation I will show what are the social and cultural consequences of 1970s (and later) displacements. My research suggests that a structure that formed the slum still affects residents every day life practices.
Growing Up Precariously in the City: The Case of Second/ Third Generation Eritrean Refugeesness in Khartoum
An analysis of second and third generation protracted Eritrean refugee settlement in Khartoum and the implications of precarious status in navigating the city, establishing safe space and constructing identities.
This paper examines the lived experience of second and third generation Eritrean refugee youth residing in Khartoum, primarily exploring issues related to identity, constructions of refugeeness and precarious status. Due to the legal structures in Sudan including the encampment policy, refugee status offers protracted urban refugees a lack of protection and opportunities for formal integration. Many Eritrean refugees in Khartoum are in violation of the Asylum Act (2014) which limits freedom of movement, access to government services such as education and registration in urban centers. Thus, Eritrean refugees in Khartoum sit in the nexus between refugee and irregularity , which has resulted in continued police harassment, exclusion and exploitation. This analysis is starkly missing in current debate on border management and the so-called European Refugee Crisis which disproportionately places a spotlight on Eritrean migration to the Global North and constructs Sudan as a transit country. These categories and discourses have significant political and structural implications that impact the lives of Eritrean communities at a local, national and international level. The current discourses of migration management restrict refugees, potentially criminalizing communities whilst failing to address root structural issues such as precarious status. An analysis of inter-generational settlement in Khartoum offers an opportunity deconstruct these categories through centering the narratives of Eritrean youth who grew up navigating the city under continued policies of exclusion.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.