Can Southern cities generate inclusive/distributive development? Urbanization pathways in Africa today
|Dates:||23 May 2022|
|Times:||12:00 - 13:30|
|What is it:||Webinar|
|Organiser:||Global Development Institute|
|Who is it for:||University staff, External researchers, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public|
Urban-economic geographers have called for a more robust, comparative project to examine and elucidate the drivers of, and prospects for, more just, distributive, and progressive urban development pathways in the Global South. Such work is critical given the features of urbanization processes today – marked by patterns of stalled industrialization, splintered cities, and shaped by emergent meta-trends (e.g., China’s global rise, the climate crisis). In this context, oft taken-for-granted teleologies of the urbanization-modernization-industrialization nexus are in dire need of a critical rethinking; one that recognizes and accounts for the variegated, multi-directional, and contingent ways in which Southern cities are developing.
The “urban question” being whether cities can serve as generators of globalized, distributive, and/or just development outcomes, or whether their growth will simply reinforce “parasitic”, unequal and/or extractive relations nationally and globally? This talk first takes stock of economic-geographical perspectives on urban-regional development and then argues for a sociotechnical systems approach that conceptualizes cities as constituted by interdependent regimes related to production, consumption, and infrastructure that interrelate and foster particular development pathways. Drawing on recent research/writing in/on African cities, the framework is illustrated empirically to assess the multi-dimensional challenges, relationalities, and structural features that have made inclusive/distributive development in the region elusive to date. The analysis highlights the productivist bias in economic geography’s approach to urban development questions and the need for perspectives that can better account for the use-values (e.g., quality of life) associated with urbanization pathways, manifest particularly in issues of livelihood security, rights-to-the city, and welfare distributions.
Role: Professor of Geography
Organisation: Clark University
Travel and Contact Information
Humanities Bridgeford Street