'Enclaving' is the unequal distribution of urban resources in separated spaces across cities. In Africa, enclaving means new forms of urban spatial and social differentiation, such as gated communities or private cities. Such differentiation often entails atomization or fragmentation of the city and is, generally, approached as only a problem for urban development and planning. This project challenges such understandings by seeking a holistic understanding of enclaving, including why enclaving takes place, why enclaving is often desired by urbanites and how enclaving is experienced.
In exploring enclaving more broadly, we recognize that actors co-produce and engage urban space. Based on fieldwork in Accra, Johannesburg and Maputo we analyze enclaving as a globally emerging cultural orientation which create new social forms. By comparing enclaving in these cities, the project therefore contributes to find solutions for two key challenges of African urban development, namely housing and inequality.
Questions that guide the research include:
1) How does enclaving work through housing practices?
2) How does enclaving shape inequality in relation to gendered entrepreneurship, household dynamics, and sexual and intimate practices?
3) How does ideas of enclaving influence how people see themselves as members of urban societies?
By exploring enclaving as an increasingly important urban phenomenon, we produce research that is relevant also to development policies regarding inequality and urban development.
The project is a collaboration between the project owner University of Bergen and University of Johannesburg, University of Ghana, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (Mozambique) and the University of Essex.
Enclaving is the unequal distribution of urban resources based on the production of separated spaces. In Africa this is producing radically new forms of urban spatial and social differentiation. Analyses of urban inequality approach enclaving as a process of spatial segregation and social atomization. Often based on technocratic or macroeconomic approaches, these understandings frame enclaving as a problem, preventing an empirically grounded, holistic comprehension of the phenomenon. What is missed in such accounts is an understanding of enclaving as an agentive, creative, subversive, and aspirational process. In this project we therefore approach enclaving as a generative and transformative cultural orientation by which social actors engage with and co-produce the urban order. Our project aims to rectify this conceptual gap.
Through ethnographic fieldwork in three African metropoles, Accra, Johannesburg and Maputo we will explore enclaving as a globally emerging cultural orientation that works as a key driver for the reordering of the urban fabric, one that it is generative of new forms of sociality that need to be understood in their local context. This approach is necessary to comprehend novel forms of urbanization and to find solutions for two key challenges of contemporary urban development in Africa, namely housing and the management of inequality.
Our research is driven by three underlying questions:
1) How does enclaving work through housing practices of various scales?
2) How does enclaving shape social understandings and the managing of urban inequality in terms of gendered entrepreneurship, household dynamics or sexual and intimate practices?
3) How does enclaving inform the way people reimagine themselves as members of urban societies?
Through in-depth exploration of enclaving as an increasingly hegemonic urban form, we hope to produce research that is relevant to development policies regarding inequality and urban developments