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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Social construction of peri-urban places and alternative planning in Zanzibar
Author:Myers, Garth AndrewISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:Zanzibar
urban environment
informal settlements
urban planning
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40928364
Abstract:Increasingly, scholarship on urban Africa has focused on the social construction of place in informal neighbourhoods. In this approach, researchers often highlight the fluidity, contingency, or creativity of the urban poor majority. Efforts to remake planning processes to work with or be driven by these informal everyday place-making strategies can be quite inspiring. Yet the author questions whether these ideas as put into practice in cities can be anything more than survival strategies of the abject poor. Historical-geographical roots and social relations with the State make each informal neighbourhood a particular case, and these factors have significant influence on people's capacity to make new, alternative statements with their urban places, or to create alternatives that might be replicated. This essay is based mainly around fieldwork in 2006-2008 in Zanzibar's peri-urban West District 'shehia' (locations) of Mwera and Welezo, including assessment of the built environments, interviews, archival work, and participant observation. The author documents ways in which these neighbourhoods are, despite newness, rooted in history and geography, and how residents' peri-urban everyday place making depends upon their relationships with the State. The internal heterogeneity of place making and social positioning proves difficult to contend with or deploy for alternative planning. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]