Informal Settlements: Domain Report

ACRC Working Paper 2024-09. Manchester: African Cities Research Consortium, The University of Manchester.

84 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2024

See all articles by Smith Ouma

Smith Ouma

Independent

Daniela Cocco Beltrame

The University of Manchester

Diana Mitlin

The University of Manchester - Global Development Institute

Beth Beth Chitekwe-Biti

SDI

Date Written: February 19, 2024

Abstract

This working paper is a synthesis of findings from seven city domain studies which employed the African Cities Research Consortium’s (ACRC’s) conceptual framework to provide new insights into the challenges faced by informal settlement residents in African cities, and proposed ways in which those challenges might be addressed. The paper employs political and systems analyses to understand the political economy of informal settlements and systems failings. It argues that specific challenges can best be understood through a “developmental domain” analysis; that is, by examining how the experts, residents and political actors who have coalesced around a set of challenges come to frame and address them, invoking specific policies, practices and ideas. Informal settlements are treated both as loci of power and, at the same time, as highly influenced by power dynamics at the city and international levels. The development opportunities and outcomes associated with specific informal settlements are influenced by how power is configured. They are also influenced by residents’ understanding of the specific conditions in their settlements and their ability to effectively mobilise for collective action. Essential to note is the paper’s mapping of the www.african-cities.org 2 Informal settlements: Domain report shifting policy context within informal settlements across the seven examined cities; this is attributed to factors like residents’ accumulation of practical experience, which they use to advocate for targeted policy interventions. Ultimately, the paper highlights the pressing need for examining contextual factors which can explain the varying success rates of policy interventions across different cities. Moreover, it is essential to understand the extent to which interventions at the settlement level translate to broader systemic changes within the city and beyond.

Keywords: African cities, informality, informal settlements, service delivery, Slum Dwellers International, upgrading

Suggested Citation

Ouma, Smith and Cocco Beltrame, Daniela and Mitlin, Diana and Beth Chitekwe-Biti, Beth, Informal Settlements: Domain Report (February 19, 2024). ACRC Working Paper 2024-09. Manchester: African Cities Research Consortium, The University of Manchester., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4765001 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4765001

Daniela Cocco Beltrame

The University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, N/A M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Diana Mitlin

The University of Manchester - Global Development Institute ( email )

Humanities Bridgeford Street Building
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

Beth Beth Chitekwe-Biti

SDI ( email )

Kirichwa Rad
off Menelik Lane
Nairobi
Kenya

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