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Urban risk readdressed: Bridging resilience-seeking practices in African cities

Allen, Adriana; Koroma, Braima; Manda, Mtafu; Osuteye, Emmanuel; Lambert, Rita; (2019) Urban risk readdressed: Bridging resilience-seeking practices in African cities. In: Burayidi, Michael A and Twigg, John and Wamsler, Christine and Allen, Adriana, (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Urban Resilience. (pp. 277-289). Routledge: London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

Throughout the Global South, urbanization is increasingly coupled with the production of risk accumulation cycles or urban “risk traps”, which are not exclusively driven but exacerbated by climate change. This is the case across many cities in sub Sahara Africa, where biophysical and socio-economic risk drivers combine to produce vicious cycles of unequal risk exposure and displacement, with severe impacts on the lives, livelihoods and assets of the urban poor and the city’s ecological and socio-economic future. Focusing on two case studies characterized by different approaches to the governance of disaster risk management (DRM) – Freetown (Sierra Leone) and Karonga (Malawi) – this chapter seeks to untangle the processes that drive risk accumulation over time and to appraise the resilience-seeking practices deployed and resources mobilized to mitigate, reduce, and prevent risk. It reflects on the findings from an action-research project conducted in the aforementioned cities, as part of a wider program entitled “Urban Africa Risk Knowledge” (Urban ARK). As such, it provides fresh insights into how the governance of urban resilience currently works in both contexts and on how to enhance the capacity to act of those most vulnerable to become trapped in risk accumulation cycles to disrupt these traps strategically, inclusively, and collectively. Our central argument is that the capacity of emerging DRM governance frameworks to disrupt urban risk traps is defined by the extent to which resilience-seeking is actually practiced in a relational way – that is acknowledging the multiple practices that converge in responding to risk and their relative capacities to disrupt the risk accumulation cycles that impact the most vulnerable. We further hypothesize that the differential ability of ongoing resilient-seeking practices to disrupt risk traps is shaped by the extent to which their governance expands the political space to enable abridged collective action among the urban poor, customary authorities, local governments and external agencies.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Urban risk readdressed: Bridging resilience-seeking practices in African cities
ISBN-13: 9780429506666
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.4324/9780429506666
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429506666
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10155865
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