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The search for sustainability and emerging systems of urban water governance in SSA 
Paul Stacey (Roskilde University)
Jacob Rasmussen (Roskilde University)
Maja Kirstine Dahl Jeppesen (Aarhus University)
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Jacob Rasmussen (Roskilde University)
Urban Studies (x) Infrastructure (y)
Philosophikum, S81
Thursday 1 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel investigates the implications for urban governance and the opportunities and challenges for diverse actors as African cities rapidly implement ambitious infrastructure projects to attain sustainability and replace crumbling and outdated water and wastewater systems.

Long Abstract:

Water access and quality infrastructure are vital to economic development, and public health and urban sustainability depend on residents' ability to enjoy access to quality water systems. But achieving urban sustainability is highly challenging as all authorities also experience ever-increasing pressure to fulfil demands. The provision of quality water is not only limited by economic costs and the need for innovative technologies, but by the large number of competing stakeholders involved. As such, water provision and governance comprise a highly complex and evolving social and political field of new and old public, private, state, and non-state actors and institutions, which often pursue different logics and rationales. The result is often an informalization of water system governance which may or may not follow sustainability objectives and regulatory frameworks.To keep pace with ever increasing urban expansion, African cities are nevertheless forced to implement ambitious infrastructure projects both to attain sustainability and to replace crumbling and outdated systems. But what happens when highly technical planning and implementation processes meet the messy reality of urban Africa, characterized with informality, ad hoc planning, patronage, and high levels of political competition? The panel investigates cases of how the renewal of water infrastructure provides both opportunities and challenges for diverse urban governance stakeholders and how a range of public and private actors' negotiations and contestations around critical water infrastructure come to shape new contours of urban governance as new official, unofficial, practical, and social norms merge, and are (re)defined, exploited, or circumvented.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -