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Towards a new community-led governance approach, integrating the global into the mundane – and why design matters

Authors:

Fabienne Hoelzel ,

ETH Zürich; Fabulous Urban, CH
About Fabienne
Senior Researcher, Founder
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Ebun Akinsete

GEN Sustainable Solutions; Robert Gordon University, GB
About Ebun
Dr, Senior Consultant and Partner, Associate Lecturer
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Abstract

Contemporary Africa is undergoing a rapid evolution, with several African nations experiencing the highest global rates of urbanization. Nigeria, ‘The Giant of Africa’, is no exception and has recently surpassed South Africa as the continent’s largest economy. Along with historical challenges the country has faced, such as corruption and lack of governmental transparency, rapid urbanization brings a new set of issues to the fore. This paper explores alternative governance models in developing nations against the backdrop of rapid urbanization and the growth of informal structures. Roughly two-third of Africa's urban population live in informal, over-crowded settlements, and two-fifths live below the poverty line. Informal employment accounts for roughly 60 percent of urban jobs. This paper examines potential models and solutions to address some of these urgent issues, stressing the importance of integrating the 'global' with the 'mundane'. The paper focuses on the low-income community of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria, as a case study. It presents alternative community-led sustainable approaches to urban governance, while drawing attention to the interface between the built environment and governance, and highlighting the role of design in shaping social infrastructure. It further suggests that formal/informal and top-down/bottom-up governance should come together to tackle urban challenges such as the lack of basic infrastructure and services, the lack of steady income and the adaption to climate change.

How to Cite: Hoelzel, F. and Akinsete, E., 2015. Towards a new community-led governance approach, integrating the global into the mundane – and why design matters. The Public Sphere: Journal of Public Policy, 3(1), pp.26–45.
Published on 01 Jan 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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