Enclaving is the unequal distribution of urban resources based on the production of separated spaces. In Africa this is producing radically new forms of urban spatial and social differentiation. Analyses of urban inequality approach enclaving as a process of spatial segregation and social atomization. Often based on technocratic or macroeconomic approaches, these understandings frame enclaving as a problem, preventing an empirically grounded, holistic comprehension of the phenomenon. What is missed in such accounts is an understanding of enclaving as an agentive, creative, subversive, and aspirational process. In this project we therefore approach enclaving as a generative and transformative cultural orientation by which social actors engage with and co-produce the urban order.
Our project aims to rectify this conceptual gap. Through ethnographic fieldwork in three African metropoles, Accra, Johannesburg and Maputo we will explore enclaving as a globally emerging cultural orientation that works as a key driver for the reordering of the urban fabric, one that it is generative of new forms of sociality that need to be understood in their local context. This approach is necessary to comprehend novel forms of urbanization and to find solutions for two key challenges of contemporary urban development in Africa, namely housing and the management of inequality. Learn more about our project here.