The paper wants to contribute to the rich body of recent literature on both the urban informality issue and the growing urban middle class theme, by analyzing their interconnections, believing that only considering them as a unique setting, it could be possible to really help planning policies purposes for African cities. Recent interest in urban Africa and in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa is principally related with two trends that shaped the continent socio-economic structure in the last decade: an important economic growth and a growing urban middle (consuming) class, actually the biggest growing middle class in the world. A growing middle class implies important urban consequences: needing housing provision and infrastructure investments, the emerging class is re-shaping the urban agenda of the majority of the African urbanities. These recent urban trends in Africa are not sufficiently studied in relationship with the informal sector or with that part of the city still called ‘informal’. To relate the growth of the urban middle class with the informal sector means not only to denounce unsustainable and exclusionary trends. It also means to deeply analyze the real urban identity of the middle class, its origin and its ‘right to the city’ aspirations; it means to analyze the impacts that the urban needs of such class could result in informal settlements. Moreover, it is important to consider that the bulk of the new African middle class is fighting to find alternative ways to occupy urban space in order to have a decent home and it is still fluctuating between formal and informal urban dynamics. In the last decades many efforts have been made to warn against forms of planning exclusion and planning control towards the informal sector, addressing informality as a ‘mode’ of urbanization to learn from, in order to overcome the simplistic dual view of African cities. Today, not to relate the impact of the new middle class with the urban informality issue, is harmful to future urban conformations and to future urban policies. The lack of attention on this issue could not only lead to the misunderstanding of the real urban trend but also to the exacerbation of the urban inequalities that until today have been the focus of the international debate on informality in African cities.

Rethinking Informality in 21 Century African Cities: the missing issue

MAZZOLINI, ANNA
2014

Abstract

The paper wants to contribute to the rich body of recent literature on both the urban informality issue and the growing urban middle class theme, by analyzing their interconnections, believing that only considering them as a unique setting, it could be possible to really help planning policies purposes for African cities. Recent interest in urban Africa and in particular in Sub-Saharan Africa is principally related with two trends that shaped the continent socio-economic structure in the last decade: an important economic growth and a growing urban middle (consuming) class, actually the biggest growing middle class in the world. A growing middle class implies important urban consequences: needing housing provision and infrastructure investments, the emerging class is re-shaping the urban agenda of the majority of the African urbanities. These recent urban trends in Africa are not sufficiently studied in relationship with the informal sector or with that part of the city still called ‘informal’. To relate the growth of the urban middle class with the informal sector means not only to denounce unsustainable and exclusionary trends. It also means to deeply analyze the real urban identity of the middle class, its origin and its ‘right to the city’ aspirations; it means to analyze the impacts that the urban needs of such class could result in informal settlements. Moreover, it is important to consider that the bulk of the new African middle class is fighting to find alternative ways to occupy urban space in order to have a decent home and it is still fluctuating between formal and informal urban dynamics. In the last decades many efforts have been made to warn against forms of planning exclusion and planning control towards the informal sector, addressing informality as a ‘mode’ of urbanization to learn from, in order to overcome the simplistic dual view of African cities. Today, not to relate the impact of the new middle class with the urban informality issue, is harmful to future urban conformations and to future urban policies. The lack of attention on this issue could not only lead to the misunderstanding of the real urban trend but also to the exacerbation of the urban inequalities that until today have been the focus of the international debate on informality in African cities.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11578/231301
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