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Hauptsachtitel:
Teaching and Learning Guide for: Sustainable Development and Environmental Justice in African Cities.
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Zeitschrift/Zeitung:
Geography Compass
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3
Z-Heftnummer/-bez.:
6
Erscheinungsjahr:
Seite (von-bis):
2109-2111
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Introduction
This piece aims at analyzing reasons why the study of Africa′s cities and the practice of urban planning on the continent are so full of ′sustainable development′ rhetoric and comparatively silent on questions of social and environmental justice. I use case studies from two countries with significant bibliographies of urban geographical research, South Africa and Tanzania, to examine this puzzle. A related absence to that of environmental justice analysis is that of the literature of urban political ecology, which often incorporates critical analysis of environmental justice. To date, with some exceptions – most being in South Africa – few scholars have used an urban political ecology approach in African cities. South Africa also represents virtually the only country on the continent with an extensive movement for and literature about specifically urban environmental justice. Tanzania, like almost every other African country, places major rhetorical emphasis on sustainable urban development in planning, and most scholarship has followed suit, absent discussion about urban social or environmental justice. I trace the path by which sustainable urban development (SUD) came to predominate, as it does even in South Africa. I highlight the major roles of the World Bank, the United Nations, and Western donors in setting the urban agenda in Africa as the principal reason for the neoliberal SUD approach′s domination. South Africa′s rights-based development agenda, compared with the long history of state control over civil society in Tanzania, are central to the contrasting outcomes in the case studies. This topic is important to the field because the time is ripe for urban political ecology research on urban environmental justice in sub-Saharan African cities outside of South Africa to contribute to urban geography. It is also a valuable article for its encouragement of cross-fertilization and comparative research between and among different African countries on urban geography.
DOI:
10.1111/j.1749-8198.2009.00272.x