Urban Resettlements in the Global South : Lived Experiences of Housing and Infrastructure between Displacement and Relocation book cover
1st Edition

Urban Resettlements in the Global South
Lived Experiences of Housing and Infrastructure between Displacement and Relocation

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ISBN 9780367644437
September 10, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
248 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Urban Resettlements in the Global South provides new perspectives on resettlement through an urban studies lens. To date, resettlement has been theorized through development studies and refugee studies, but urban resettlement is also a major dimension of urban development in the Global South and may help to rethink contemporary urban dynamics between spectacular new town developments and rising incidences of eviction and displacement. Conceptualising resettlement as a binding notion between production/regeneration and destruction/demolition of urban space helps to illuminate interdependencies and to underline significant ambiguities within affected people’s perspectives towards resettlement projects. This volume will offer an interesting selection of ten different case studies with rich empirical data from Latin America, North and SubSaharan Africa, and Asia, focused on each stage of resettlement (before, during, after) through different timescales. By offering a frame for analysing and rethinking resettlement within urban studies, it will support any scholar or expert dealing with resettlement, displacement, and housing in an urban context, seeking to improve housing and planning policies in and for the city.

Table of Contents


Lists of figures

List of tables

List of contributors


1. Introduction. Positioning ‘Urban Resettlement’ in the Global Urban South
Raffael Beier, Amandine Spire, Marie Bridonneau, and Corentin Chanet

PART 1 –Neoliberal Governance and Spatial Reordering

2. Slum redevelopment, differentiated resettlement and transit camp. The Kathputli Colony rehabilitation project in Delhi

Véronique Dupont and M.M. Shankare Gowda

3. The politics of urban resettlement: spatial governmentality, soft constraints and everyday life in Lomé, Togo
Amandine Spire and Francesca Pilo’

4. Transforming political subjectivities through resettlement in Córdoba, Argentina: from poor citizens to poor consumers
Juliana Hernández Bertone, Candela de la Vega, and María Alejandra Ciuffolini

PART 2 – Experiencing Change Through Notions of Home and Shelter

5. Narratives of Home and Neighbourhood: Rethinking risk in informal and state-delivered settlements in Durban

Sogen Moodley and Kira Erwin

6. "The house is nice, but …" Looking beyond shelter in shantytown resettlement in Casablanca, Morocco.
Raffael Beier

7. Resettlement and the everyday production of lived space: urban informality as a way of life in Tehran, Iran
Toktam Ashnaiy and Erhard Berner

PART 3 – Long-term Perspectives

8. The production of (re)settlements in Maputo, Mozambique: hovering between habitats and inhabited spaces

Sílvia Jorge and Vanessa Melo

9. Experiencing the politics of resettlement in Lalibela (Ethiopia) through time: from displacement to the impossible rebuilding of ordinary lives

Marie Bridonneau


10. Rethinking urban resettlement and displacement from the perspective of ‘home’ in the interruption and uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic

Marie Huchzermeyer

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Raffael Beier is a postdoctoral research fellow at the department of International Planning Studies at TU Dortmund University, Germany. During the time of co-editing and writing, he was working as the coordinator of the PhD programme in International Development Studies at the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy at Ruhr University Bochum. He was further associated with the Centre for Built Environment Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently, he is leading a research project on dropout and post-resettlement mobilities in state-led affordable housing projects, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Amandine Spire is Assistant Professor in Geography at the Centre for Social Sciences Studies on Africa, America and Asia (CESSMA) of the University of Paris, where she researches migration and urban issues and leads courses on urban and social geography. Her current research focuses on power relations and city dwellers’ subjectivities in cities in the Global South, particularly in Lomé (Togo) and Accra (Ghana). From 2014 to 2019, she led a research program on the right to the city in the Global South that focused on the relocation and urban resettlement of city dwellers in Africa. 

Marie Bridonneau is an Assistant Professor in Geography at the University of Paris-Nanterre and a member of the LAVUE research unit. She is also the director of the French Centre for Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) since September 2018. Her research deals with urban dynamics (involuntary displacements, small towns, urban peripheries) and politics of cultural heritage in Ethiopia and Eritrea.


"Urban resettlement, a silent phenomenon in the global south, given real light and insightful analyses. The destruction, production, and re-production of urban spaces underlie the process of urbanization and urban development in the global south yet given less attention in both theory and practice. This is certainly a captivating and a must-read book for both urban practitioners and theorists."

George Owusu, Professor of Urban Geography, Institute of Statistical, Social & Economic Research (ISSER)/ Dean, School of Social Sciences, University of Ghana

"Envisioning urban resettlement as an ambiguous, poorly conceptualised yet prevalent urban condition, this critical, fresh and timely edited collection draws together scholarship working to centre the diverse lived experiences of those who are resettled. Global in its reach, and thick with empirical insights, the book advances understanding of the complexities and contradictions of legal, political, economic and subjective facets of resettlement. Claiming the significance of a critical politics of the urban, the book’s subtle and informed analyses speak directly to planning and housing policy and offer a valuable resource for urban researchers." 

Paula Meth, Reader & Director of Student Experience, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield, UK

"A very important intervention, that critically conceptualizes the idea of urban resettlement, in order to understand the dual, ambivalent and dialectic process of displacement and relocation in all its complexities. Grounded in the lived experiences of city dwellers, richly woven and careful ethnographies account for the liminal conditions that resettled dwellers experience, their home- and place-making capacities. At the same time, this book offers a cutting-edge political analysis of the governing of everyday life, the production of unequal subjectivities and identities in the Global South, bringing together a truly international collective of researchers and fostering theory-generating connections between variegated sites. A precious, insightful read."

Myriam Houssay-Holzschuch, Professor, Institut d’Urbanisme et de Géographie Alpine, Université Grenoble Alpes, France

"Urban Resettlements in the Global South is an engaging collection of ‘lived experiences’ of people and places going through often traumatic displacement and relocation induced by urban development projects. It goes far beyond conventionally prescriptive studies on getting resettlement right or critical literature on resettlement as a coercive mechanism. This book establishes a fresh insight into intricacies of resettlement through empirically-rich case studies on lifeworlds of resettled people as major weavers of urban fabrics across continents. It urges readers to think through meanings of uprootedness and continuous rebuilding of lives in our rapidly urbanizing world."

Kei Otsuki, Associate Professor in International Development Studies, Utrecht University, The Netherlands