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Planning challenges in informal settlements [CRG African Urban Dynamics] [CLOSED] 
Martin Murray (University of Michigan)
Cecil Madell (University of Cape Town)
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Martin Murray (University of Michigan)
Cecil Madell (University of Cape Town)
Martin Murray (University of Michigan)
Urban Studies (x) Inequality (y)
Philosophikum, S68
Friday 2 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

The expansion of informal settlements have posed serious challenges for urban planners in Africa. This session features scholars with planning and research expertise who will share their experiences about overcoming the challenges to making improvements for those living in informal settlements.

Long Abstract:

As size and scope of informal settlements in urban Africa have proliferated, urban planners have faced a cascading range of challenges that hinder their efforts to bring improvements to the lives of those who get by without proper infrastructure, good governance, and sanitary accommodation. For urban planners, how to upgrade informal settlements, squatter encampments, and other irregular settlement typologies constitutes a genuine "wicked problem." As Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber argued a long time ago, "wicked problems" by their very nature undermine the possibility of a workable solution by conventional common-sense approaches, as the apparent "solutions" might expose yet other complex problems. Informal settlements represent complex social systems that consist of not only various types of housing accommodation but also modes of livelihood. Informal settlements consist of a full range of seemingly insurmountable problems: limited opportunities for income generation, insufficient or nonexistent infrastructure, unhealthy conditions, environment risks, and clouded property relations. Transforming informal settlements for the better involves complex interventions into evolving power dynamics that are not always visible on the surface. Improving the lives of those who live in informal settlements depends on planners and city officials who are innovative problem-solvers and willing to collaborate with all stakeholders involved in the planning process, including members of informal settlement communities. Rather than relying on "one-size-fits-all" solutions, planners need to depend upon local knowledge, listen to the residents of informal settlements and garner their trust in order to produce tangible results.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Friday 2 June, 2023, -