Actor collaboration toolkit complete

The frenetic pace of urbanization and rapid rise of informality in cities in the South threatens to outstrip the old conventions of ‘community participation’ within contained and ‘invited spaces’. There is an increasing acknowledgement of the growing disjuncture between current Western derived approaches to planning based on positivism and communicative action theory and the messy realities of contestation, poverty, inequality, informality and spatial fragmentation which characterises the cities of the global South.

Locating actor collaboration within the African city

A scan of the 2008/2009 UN-HABITAT State of the World’s Cities Report highlights the following trends:

·         By 2050, Africa is projected to have an urban population of 1.2 billion and will accommodate nearly a quarter of the world’s urban population

·         Much of the urban growth in Africa is concentrated in the capital cities. Between 1990 and 2000 big cities in Africa with populations of between one and five million such as Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Dakar, grew at 3.3 per cent, versus an average of 2.5 per cent for the developing world as a whole.

·         Many of the fastest growing urban landscapes are swelled by the mass displacements triggered by armed conflict. Cities such as Luanda, Kinshasa, Khartoum and Monrovia have recorded sharp increases in their populations as a consequence of protracted wars in the countryside.  In the Congo there have been an estimated 5.4 million conflict related deaths between 1998 and 2008, while another 30 African countries have experienced conflicts in the past few years.

The above extract from introduction to the Actor Collaboration toolkit commissioned by the African Centre for Cities starkly illustrates the rapidity of urbanisation and the dominance of informality in the African city. The toolkit provides an introduction to some of the issues and debates shaping planning theory and the different approaches to collaboration between State and non State development actors. It contains three case studies - two highlighting approaches by governments and one which focuses on 'insurgent planning' from below.

  • Learning from Joe Slovo which summarises the clash between State and non State actors over the development of the N2 gateway housing project
  • Operation Murambatsvina which chronicles the countrywide forced campaign by Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF to crush informality and relocate urban migrants back to the rural areas
  • A review of a small scale incremental informal settlement upgrading initiative in Huruma, Nairobi undertaken by Pamoja Trust and the Kenyan slum dwellers movement known as Muungano wa Wanvijiji

The toolkit also contains a suggested syllabus for helping planners to think more critically about approaches to 'participation' and 'actor collaboration'. The syllabus contains four proposed units

·         Unit 1: Comparative approaches to planning and actor collaboration

·         Unit 2: The collaborative challenge of informality

·         Unit 3: An introduction to collaborative frameworks, tools and techniques

·         Unit 4: The profile of the new African Planning Professional


A prezi has also been developed which provides an animated introduction to some of the key issues.

Kibera, Nairobi illustrates the challenge of informality
Kibera, Nairobi illustrates the challenge of informality
Posted: 12/6/2010 (4:53:23 AM)

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