The urban outcomes of protracted violent Conflict in Eastern Congo
Karen Büscher (Ghent University)
Paper short abstract:
Based on more than ten years of fieldwork in the Kivu provinces, this paper analyses the complex relationship between war and urban transformation in the DRC. Both the growth of existing cities as well as the emergence of semi-urban boomtowns will be explored as the outcome of violent conflict.
Paper long abstract:
Based on more than ten years of qualitative fieldwork in North and South Kivu, this paper analyses the complex relationship between war and urban transformation in the DRC. I will draw on three case studies (Goma, Numbi and Kitchanga) to demonstrate different urban outcomes at the intersection of violence, humanitarianism and forced displacement. These case studies cover diverse forms of emerging urbanity in a context of protracted civil war and they analyse both the growth of existing, larger cities as well as the emergence of so-called 'boomtowns' will be explored. Everyday forms of urban agency by a wide range of urban actors (state administrators, IDPs, rebels, traders, humanitarian staff, youth associations) form the starting point of this analysis. I will argue that to understand 'conflict urbanisation' in the DRC, urbanisation should be understood not only as a demographic, socio-economic and spatial processes, but in the first place as a deeply political process.
Conflict urbanisation and urbanity in Africa