In many rapidly urbanizing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, local politics undermines the effectiveness of urban planning. Politicians have incentives to ignore formal urban plans and sideline planners, and instead provide urban land and services through informal channels in order to cultivate political constituencies (a form of what political scientists refer to as “clientelism”). This results in inequitable and environmentally damaging patterns of urban growth in some of the largest and most rapidly urbanizing countries in the world. The technocratic planning solutions often advocated by governments and international development organizations are not enough. To overcome this problem, urban planners must understand and adapt to the complex politics of urban informality.
In this book, Chandan Deuskar explores how politicians in developing democracies provide urban land and services to the urban poor in exchange for their political support, demonstrates how this impacts urban growth, and suggests innovative and practical ways in which urban planners can try to be more effective in this challenging political context. He draws on literature from multiple disciplines (urban planning, political science, sociology, anthropology, and others), statistical analysis of global data on urbanization, and an in-depth case study of urban Ghana.
Urban planners and international development experts working in the Global South, as well as researchers, educators, and students of global urbanization will find Urban Planning in a World of Informal Politics informative and thought-provoking.
Introduction. The Challenge of Planning the Informal City
Part I. Global Patterns
1. The Conflict Between Informal Politics and Urban Planning Around the World
2. The Global Relationship Between Clientelism and Urban Growth
3. Transitioning Away from Clientelism: Global Cases
Part II. Politics and Planning in Urban Ghana
4. Urban Informality and Planning Failure in Ghana
5. How Clientelism Undermines Planning in Ghana
6. Chiefs, Thugs, and Boundaries: Other Political Constraints to Planning in Ghana
7. How Sodom and Gomorrah Survive: The Case of “Ghana's Biggest Slum”
Part III. Politically Adaptive Planning
8. Seeking a Way Forward for Planning
9. A Politically Adaptive Approach to Planning
Conclusion. Recognizing the Play Being Staged
Chandan Deuskar has several years of experience working on urban development in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere, with the World Bank and other organizations. He holds degrees in city planning and architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, MIT, and Columbia University. He was raised in Mumbai, India, and currently lives in Washington, DC.
"Urban Planning in a World of Informal Politics provides a valuable perspective to understandand solve challenges to urban planning practices in the Global South...Deuskar has helped demonstrate [that] great opportunitiesremain for better managing informal urbanization toaccommodate population increase in these areas. The book is highly recommended for Ghanaian and Southern planning professionals, considering the hidden successes that practitioners could help uncover. It also serves as an excellent introductory book for academic and public policy–interested audiences engaging in a world of informal politics beyond the Global South."
~Journal of the American Planning Association
"Urban Planning in a World of Informal Politics offers valuable insights, effectively bridging worlds of policymaking and academic pursuits. Anybody interested in the present and future of cities in the Global South should read it."
~Journal of Urban Affairs
Winner of the Best Book in Urban Affairs Award, granted by the Urban Affairs Association