Urban Enclaving Futures

UEF researchers shortlisted for best article in Urban Studies

Morten Nielsen, Jason Sumich and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen have been shortlisted for 'Urban Studies' best article of 2021

A boat on docked a riverside, with a city and a bridge in the background
Katembe, Maputo. Photo by Oda Eiken Maraire

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We are pleased to announce that the article "Enclaving: Spatial detachment as an aesthetics of imagination in an urban sub-Saharan African context" co-written by Urban Enclaving Futures researchers Bjørn Enge Bertelsen and Jason Sumich, as well as by UEF affiliate Morten Nielsen, was shortlisted for Urban Studies best article of 2021 award

This engaging article explores the concept of 'enclaving' as both generative and transformative in the Sub-Saharan region. With the notion of an 'aesthetics of imagination,' the article employs empirical examination, historical analysis and cross-cultural comparison, going beyond the localised spatial fixity of enclaving that is otherwise prevalent. 

Abstract: While detachment and separation continue to be central to urban development across the globe, in several sub-Saharan African cities they have acquired a particular form of acute social and political efficacy. In many European and American cities, the making of fortified enclosures is considered to be an effect of an endemic fear of societal dissolution, and a growing number of sub-Saharan African cities are, seemingly, affected by a similar socio-political and economic dynamic. However, in sub-Saharan Africa the spatial lines of separation that isolate the affluent few from surrounding urban spaces follow both a much wider and less coordinated meshwork of social divisions and political fissures, and draw on a deeper socio-cultural, economic and historical repertoire. In this article, we trace the contours of enclaving as a critical urban driver, which is rapidly changing the social and physical fabric of cities across the sub-Saharan continent. Rather than considering enclaving simply as a physical manifestation of dominance and privilege, however, we consider it as an ‘aesthetics of imagination’ that migrates through the cities and thereby weaves together otherwise dissimilar and distinct social practices and spaces, political desires and economic aspirations.

Read the article here: Enclaving: Spatial detachment as an aesthetics of imagination in an urban sub-Saharan African context