Accepted paper:

Ageing persons in ageing suburbs


Ann Schlyter (University of Gothenburg)

Paper short abstract:

The urban population in African countries are young, but there are a growing number of elderly, who have built their neighborhoods and seen them affected by a variety of policy interventions. Many of them work and support the younger generations until the very end of their life

Paper long abstract:

A growing number of elderly people have spent most of their life in town. The dominant view of elderly in cities is still reflecting the colonial labour contract, dictating that the workers should at retirement return to "their village". Still some do, but many of urban elderly have lost contact with their region of birth. Or they opt for staying in the city, expressed in the phrase: "This place is my home". They claim their right to the city. This paper is based on findings of the authors own longitudinal studies over almost fifty years in a peri-urban area in Lusaka and on other studies in the region. It will describe from the perspective of some older individuals how this area called George compound was built and then subjected to a series of interventions, such as legalization, provision of infrastructure, continues deterioration and new provisions. Finally it will look into the housing and living situation of the elderly in poor peri-urban areas today. The paper concludes that massive infrastructural provisions carried out in a responsive and participatory way enhance the life qualities, but are not sustainable in a situation of perpetuate poverty. The paper argues that the house, the home, is a central asset for a household, and that elderly people, especially women, are a productive and contribute disproportionally to their families.

panel P142
Housing suburbs in African cities: new urban paradigms