Who Controls the City in the Global Urban Era? Mapping the Dimensions of Urban Geopolitics in Beira City, Mozambique | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
February 2019
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© 2019 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

In recent years, a new era of interventionism has emerged targeting the development of African cities, manifested in ‘fantasy’ urban plans, surging infrastructure investments and global policy agendas. What the implications of this new era will be for specific urban contexts is still poorly understood however. Taking this research agenda as a starting point, this article presents findings of in-depth empirical research on urban development in Beira city, Mozambique, which has recently become the recipient of massive donor investments targeting the built environment. Informed by current debates on urban geopolitics, the article unpacks these mounting global flows while locating them alongside pre-existing struggles over urban space. By doing so three distinct yet inter-related dimensions of urban geopolitics are identified, relating to the workings of the state, so-called ‘informality’ and international donors. Far from representing homogeneous categories, these dimensions each represent contradictory practices and interests which are shaping Beira’s urban trajectory. The article concludes by arguing that the inflow of donor resources has exacerbated pre-existing struggles over urban space while contributing to new contentions in ways which have undermined social equity targets of contemporary global development agendas. In doing so it provides important contributions to current debates on urban development in Africa

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Shannon, Murtah


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