Michael Hooper, Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the GSD, recently published an article on the politics of renting and its relationship to urban development in Africa. The article, which appeared in the January issue of International Planning Studies, was written with Jenny Cadstedt, of Sweden’s Red Cross University.
The paper employed extensive interviews to examine the ways in which perceptions of renting — on the part of renters, owners and other key actors in the development process — influenced the dynamics of participation around two recent urban development projects in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The study responded to concerns that participatory planning too frequently treats communities as homogenous and overlooks barriers to participation faced by marginalized groups, such as renters. The results showed that renters were unwilling and often unable to participate due to perceptions, held by themselves and by others, of renter transience and inconsequentiality. These perceptions led to a cycle of non-participation in which policymakers gave renters’ needs little attention in plans and renters were disinclined to participate in mobilization. The results suggested that barriers to renter participation could be reduced if their concerns were proactively given more weight in urban development plans.
Read the full article: Moving Beyond ‘Community’ Participation: Perceptions of Renting and the Dynamics of Participation Around Urban Development in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The broader research project, of which this paper is a component, is also described in detail on the GSD Social Agency Lab website.