Kinshasa has been growing rapidly in the past few decades, not only in terms of population, but also spatially, as it has expanded in a largely, unplanned manner. This paper addresses how urban governance takes place where the state is only weakly present. It does so by focusing on constructions anarchiques, or unlawful constructions, which are present all over the city. Although they are in breach of government regulations (e.g. building in areas where they are not supposed to) and carry with them a range of negative consequences (such as vulnerability to erosion or floods), they continue to take place and are often protected against state measures.
The paper shows how urban governance is a multi-actor and multi-policy affair – the way in which the city is governed, planned and regulated is not the monopoly of the state regulatory framework, but enacted, contested and protested through a variety of other actors. Connections and interpersonal relations are central to the way in which urban governance unfolds in Kinshasa. This is seen within the urban administration, and in the way in which state actors relate with the wider population. While this is the case worldwide, it is particularly prominent in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its capital. Here, these personal connections have a profound effect on the expansion of the city and the continued existence of unlawful constructions.
This research is part of the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) programme
Titeca, K. Malukisa Nkuku, A. (2019) Urban governance through personal connections: Kinshasa and its unlawful constructions. Working paper. London: Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium.
Urban governance through personal connections: Kinshasa and its unlawful constructions
Published 28 February 2019