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Présentation du livre « Politics and the Urban Frontier: Transformation and Divergence in Late Urbanizing East Africa »

22 juin 2023 / 14h30 16h30

Editor: Oxford University Press

This seminar will be held in English.

The presentation will be discused by

  • Chloé Buire, Chargée de Recherche CNRS en géographie à LAM /Sciences Po Bordeaux.
  • Côme Salvaire, Docteur en science politique, ATER, LAM/ Sciences Po Bordeaux

About the author : Tom Goodfellow

Tom Goodfellow is Professor of Urban Studies & International Development at the University of Sheffield.  His research focuses on the political economy of urban development and change in Africa, particularly the politics of urban land and transportation, conflicts around infrastructure and housing, and urban institutional change.

He has conducted research in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya, with a range of institutional partners in Africa including Makerere University, Addis Ababa University, University of Lagos and University of the Witwatersrand. His current and recent research is mostly funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and Global Challenges Research Fund.

He has also engaged in advisory work for a range of international organizations including Oxfam GB, ICF International, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, DFID (now FCDO) UN-HABITAT, The UN Economic Commission for Africa, the Swiss Development Corporation, and the governments of Rwanda and Uganda.

He is a Trustee of the IJURR Foundation, sits on the Editorial Board of the journal African Affairs, is co-author of Cities and Development (Routledge, 2016) and author of Politics and the Urban Frontier: Transformation and divergence in late urbanizing East Africa (Oxford University Press, Forthcoming). 

More info on University of Sheffield website


Despite the rise of global technocratic ideals of city-making, cities around the world are not merging into indistinguishable duplicates of one another. In fact, as the world urbanizes, urban formations remain diverse in their socio-economic and spatial characteristics, with varying potential to foster economic development and social justice. This book argues that these differences are primarily rooted in politics, and if we continue to view cities as economic and technological projects to be managed rather than terrains of political bargaining and contestation, the quest for better urban futures is doomed to fail. Dominant critical approaches to urban development tend to explain difference with reference to the variegated impacts of neoliberal regulatory institutions. This, however, neglects the multiple ways in which the wider politics of capital accumulation and distribution drive divergent forms of transformation in different urban places. In order to unpack the politics that shapes differential urban development, this book focuses on East Africa as the global urban frontier: the least urbanized but fastest urbanizing region in the world. Drawing on a decade of research spanning three case-study countries (Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda), Politics and the Urban Frontier provides the first sustained, book-length comparative analysis of urban development trajectories in Eastern Africa and the political dynamics underpinning them. Through a focus on infrastructure investment, urban propertyscapes, street-level trading economies, and urban political protest, it offers a multi-scalar, historically grounded, and interdisciplinary analysis of the urban transformations unfolding in the world’s most dynamic crucible of urban change.

More info on Oxford University press

Informations pratiques

  • Date : 22/06/2023 – 14h30-16h30