Turning the tide?: the emergence of national urban policies in Africa

SOURCE: Journal of Contemporary African Studies
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2015
TITLE AUTHOR(S): I.Turok
KEYWORDS: URBAN POLICY, URBAN RENEWAL AND DEVELOPMENT (URD)
DEPARTMENT: Economic Perfomance and Development (EPD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8929

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Abstract

It is widely believed that national urban policies in Africa are rare. This is a concern bearing in mind the formidable challenges posed by urbanisation in the context of low incomes and weak institutions. The paper unpacks the concept of urban policy and what it means for the way in which cities grow. It considers the situation in five countries with different approaches. The evidence indicates increasing interest in steering urban growth through coordinated actions on land, housing and infrastructure. The positive developmental arguments seem to carry more weight than the threats of disaster if squalor and social unrest are not addressed. Yet the appropriate policy responses are not clear-cut and there are many dilemmas faced. Capacitating city governments to plan and invest in networked infrastructure appears to be one of the priorities.