Research projects 1

Urban poverty in developing countries is fuelling the rapid growth of informal settlements which the UN defines as ‘slums’. Governments want to redevelop valuable slum land in the city centre for official and commercial purposes and to resettle slum dwellers to modern high-rise condominiums outside the city center, but target populations (former slum dwellers) are not always being reached by these programs. We focus on the cities of Addis Ababa and Dar es Salaam and ask: What are the exclusionary processes and forms of political economy that give rise to urban poverty in both of these cities? What are the best methods for understanding the lives of the highly mobile poor and elucidating the often hidden and invisible processes of resource flows, networking, and creation of privilege? More specifically, we investigate the reasons for why the poor are not being resettled in condominium housing, and whether the mismatch between the government’s original plan and the actual outcome arise from (a) policies and decisions which have, intentionally or unintentionally, excluded the urban poor, or from (b) the choices made by the poor themselves, because the new condominiums do not meet their needs (for livelihoods, social networks, access to services, etc. Our research methods are ethnographic: primarily in-depth, semi-structured interviews, including life history interviews.


Prof. Laura Stark, Prof. Elias Yitbarek, Dr. Tiina-Riitta Lappi, Dr. Susanna Myllylä, MS Yonas Alemayehu, MS Imam Mahmoud, MA Jyri Mäkelä