Resettlement, Dwelling, and Urbanization in Secondary African Cities

Extractive Displacement in Tanga, Tanzania and Climate Refuge in Saint-Louis, Senegal

Maren Larsen

This project approaches questions of planetary habitability from the intimate, affective, and human experiences of re-locating and inhabiting new homes. As such, it explores the dwelling practices of re-settled residents in Tanga, Tanzania and Saint-Louis Senegal, two coastal, so-called “secondary cities” in Africa. Dwelling practices are here conceived as both the physical, material, and place-based ways residents make their homes, as well as the activities that give social, affectual, and mobile meanings to the very notion of home. Centering such dwelling practices seeks to provide an alternative view into the urban politics and spatial transformation of African cities and citizens experiencing diverse dislocations.

The Tanzanian empirical case focuses on the direct and indirect migrations and resettlements of persons affected by the planned construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in and around Tanga. This research project takes particular interest in the resettlement politics and everyday lives of persons physically and economically displaced by the pipeline and its above-ground infrastructures. The Senegalese empirical case hones in on residents and disaster victims in Saint-Louis, who are being re-located from urban areas most exposed to the effects of climate change to a new settlement inland from the regional capital. This project adopts an approach that seeks to put specific and storied experiences of home amidst resettlement into conversation in an effort to expand conceptual repertoires of southern urban theory and global urbanism relative to displacement. This project is funded by the University of Basel's Research Fund for Excellent Junior Scholars and the Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft.

Image: Pirogue in Saint-Louis, 2008 © Maren Larsen