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Cirolia, Liza Rose and Harber, Jesse (2022) 'Urban statecraft: The governance of transport infrastructures in African cities.' Urban Studies, 59 (12). pp. 2431-2450.

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Through the lens of infrastructure governance, this article explores the configurations and operations of the urban state in sub-Saharan Africa. We deploy and extend the concept of ‘statecraft’, drawing on the recent scholarship within urban studies which explores city and municipal statecraft. Consolidating insights across several studies on transport governance in African cities, we identify three ‘sites’ of urban statecraft evident in urban Africa. First, we look at sectoral authorities, which we analyse through the common experience of ringfenced national road agencies. Carving off urban functions can fragment power over urban infrastructure. Second, we look at metropolitan authorities, which we analyse through bus rapid transit (BRT) agencies. Metropolitanisation crafts new scales of governance in Africa’s larger cities. Finally, we turn to the regulation of informal service delivery systems, which we analyse through popular transport regulation. The regulation of minibus and motorcycle taxis shows the central importance of everyday practice in urban statecraft in Africa. The case of transport governance provides a particularly vivid display of the institutional fragmentation that exists between state agencies and institutions in African cities. In this context, the urban state is not a static municipal entity, but is enacted through complex and multi-scalar relationships. These relationships relate not only to the assignment of functions or territorial design, but also to the practices which animate infrastructural systems. More generally, we argue that there is ample scope within the African urban governance debates for deeper interrogation of statecraft.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Africa, cities, infrastructure, scalecraft, statecraft, transport, urban
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 1360063X
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2022 11:24
Funders: Other

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