By Marie Huchzermeyer

The UN’s towns with out Slums crusade, which aimed to enhance the lives of a hundred million “slum” dwellers, has been inappropriately communicated throughout Africa as a venture to remove slums and this e-book explains how present city coverage encourages this interpretation which has ended in conflicts among city citizens and native and nationwide gurus. It argues that the perfect to the town, in its unique belief, has direct relevance for city contestations in Africa this day.

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Extra info for Cities with Slums: From Informal Settlement Eradication to a Right to the City in Africa

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Formal urban stakeholders, whether in government or the private sector, recognise a value in land long occupied informally, perhaps once deemed unsuitable for development. When inhabitants of these settlements, often in defence of their livelihoods, organise and struggle for the exception of in situ upgrading rather than the norm of removal/relocation, they have to compete with emerging plans for productive development (ibid) or profitable investment on the same land. Frequently such investment demands are from multinational corporations.

In Nelson’s (2007: 2047) words, ‘a human rights analysis points to the ... structural factors ... as root causes’. The transition from the initial Millennium Declaration in 2000 to the actual formulation of the list of MDG targets one year later also intensified the liberal economic, rather than a social, democratic or rights-based underpinning of the MDGs. The Millennium Declaration listed the target of significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million ‘slum’ dwellers by 2020 under ‘Development and poverty eradication’ (UN, 2000: 4).

Fourth, insulation from ‘effective feedback loops ... often develop[s] internal cultures and worldviews that do not promote the goals and expectations of those outside the organization who created it and whom it serves’ (Barnett & Finnemore, 1999: 722–723). As an example, the World Bank may construct ‘a world that has little resemblance to what historians, geographers, or demographers see on the ground’ (ibid: 723). Similarly, Cities Alliance constructs a vision of cities that bears little resemblance particularly to the wide range of city realities on the African continent.

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