This Urban Studies Foundation International Workshop will feature five presentations on the production of urban space in the Global South, which involves a web of complex relationships between state and non-state actors. Presentations will feature research from Dr Jie Shen (School of Social Development and Public Policy, Fudan University), Dr Ofita Purwani (School of Architecture Universitas Sebelas Maret, Indonesia), Dr Wangui Kimari (Institute for Humanities in Africa, University of Cape Town), Dr Lina Martinez (POLIS, Universidad Icesi, Colombia), and Dr Gilbert Siame (Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Zambia).

Hosted by the LSE Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC), in collaboration with the LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC) and the LSE Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa (FLIA), presenters will introduce case studies from Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, allowing audience an opportunity to reflect upon the ways in which the (re-)structuring of urbanising space involves the selective use of state power or lack thereof. Presenters will be discussing how the state continues to have its presence felt in urban development processes in Asia (China and Indonesia) and how important it is to shed light on the contextual experiences of informal workers (Colombia) and communities and civil society (Uganda), while acknowledging the significance of countering dominant narratives that criminalise marginalised populations (Kenya).

The presentations will allow time for a panel discussion at the end, chaired by Prof Hyun Bang Shin (USF Trustee).

Date: Wednesday 13th October 2021
Time: 13:00 (UK time, GMT +0:00)
Format: online, hosted by the LSE Southeast Asia Centre (SEAC), in collaboration with the LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre (LACC) and the LSE Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa (FLIA).

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Assembling mega-urban projects through state-guided governance innovation: the development of Lingang in Shanghai

Jie Shen (School of Social Development and Public Policy, Fudan University)

In contrast to the perception that mega-urban projects are the epitome of neoliberal governance, in China they are initiated by the state as a state development strategy, which represents a new governance mode of ‘state entrepreneurialism’. The market is used as a new governance mechanism to mobilize the resources of multiple actors. Consequently, the delivery of mega-urban projects is neither driven by market actors nor controlled by the state alone. Mega-urban projects are the sites where governance innovation is experimented upon. Focusing on Lingang in Shanghai, the paper reveals that a horizontal networked mode of governance has emerged.

Southeast Asian Monarchy and the development of royal cities

Ofita Purwani (School of Architecture Universitas Sebelas Maret, Indonesia)

This presentation focuses on how the existing monarchs in Southeast Asia influence urban
development in royal cities. Monarchy which used to be the main polity in Southeast Asia still exists nowadays in various levels. Some monarchs can benefit from their old property and sometime can have privilege from their status or their access to education and network. Many existing monarchs nowadays can still have economic significance. They have companies in many aspects such as property, hospitality, media, mining, finance, and parking. The businesses that they have can only have support from the strategic positions of members of the royal family both in government and in public institutions. This has made the monarch to still be powerful and influential in determining the trajectory of development of royal cities.

Outlaw Science vs Colonial Nairobi

Wangui Kimari (Institute for Humanities in Africa, University of Cape Town)

Close to 70% of Nairobi’s population lives on only 6% of its residential land, and on areas devoid of critical basic services. Their marginality is reproduced not just through spatial neglect and confinement, but, as well, via the circulation of narratives that concomitantly work to criminalize them and omit their agency in the shaping of this city. This paper reflects on some of the praxis labours that Nairobi’s marginalized employ to counter the enduring colonial city practices that spatially and ideologically fix them. It refers to these labours as outlaw science, since they emerge from a populace that is pushed outside of the law, is not allowed legal recourse to solve their spatial conditions, and is criminalized. Ultimately, I argue that this outlaw science, an ethico-political spatial project, while often misrecognized, remains an important counterpoint to the prevailing colonial practices that govern Nairobi.

Negotiating Cities of Violence: Street Vendors in Cali, Colombia

Lina Martinez (POLIS, Universidad Icesi, Colombia)

In Colombia, like many other countries in the global South, informality is one of the main characteristics of the economic sector. About half of the working-age population earn their income through economic activity in the informal sector in the country. The pandemic generated by COVID-19 may increase the size of this sector. Cali is the third-largest city in Colombia, with 2.4 million inhabitants. The city grows in the middle of many complexities, a long history of violence and crime inherited by drug trafficking, the permanent influx of victims and displaced from the armed conflict, and large waves of migration from Venezuela. Urban poverty and segregation are distinctive characteristics of the city. The informal sector in Cali is ubiquitous and employs a large population. Street vending is one of the economic activities of the informal sector. This research focuses on the diversity and complexity of informal sales in Cali. Based on data from previous studies, the current research explores governance and legal frameworks to regulate and control the informal economy, presents detailed information on the vulnerabilities of informal workers in three settlements: downtown, Santa Helena, and the mass transit system. The research also studies financial exclusion and the penetration of illegal payday lenders as the only resort for credit to informal workers.

Splintered visions in community-led urban interventions: civic movements and the co-production approach in Kampala

Gilbert Siame (Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Zambia)

For many decades now, civil society organisations have been instrumental in driving the development agenda in many parts of the world. The civic movements have been recognised and praised for their strengths as innovative and grassroots-driven organisations with the desire and capacity to pursue participatory forms of development practice and to fill gaps left by failure of global South states. In the urban sector of the global South, the role and prominence of civil society, such as the Slum Dwellers International (SDI), the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centers (SPRAC), and the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights (ACHR) have championed alternative, transformational and people-led urban development practice. This new approach has been termed co-production. However, while literature on co-production is rapidly growing and the efficacy of the approach has been applauded, there is little interrogation of how the clearly visible divides and divisions within communities and civil society impact the co-production approach. How, therefore, can co-production succeed within the context of frequently divided civil society in the urban environments of the global South?

About USF International Workshops

USF International Workshops are a running series of events bringing together urban scholars from around the world. Focused on research funded by the Urban Studies Foundation, each workshop features work pertinent to better understandings of urban realities across the Global South. Moreover, the workshops are not only expected to generate insights regarding these different urban trajectories, but to contribute to the development of truly global urban studies.

"It is not an overstatement to say that the USF Fellowship was invaluable in relation to both my career development and the advancement of my research around urban politics. The USF Fellowship provided me with an opportunity to be part a diverse, open and stimulating academic milieu; to have the space and time to focus on research, and to pave the way for future academic research development."

Dr Lazaros Karaliotas, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Urban Studies Foundation is a registered Scottish charity. Registration number SC039937.

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