Earlier this year, researchers from subproject C07 on spatial conflicts and the platform economy spent six weeks in Cape Town, South Africa. In this brief Space-Vignette, Simon Pohl and Christina Hecht provide insights into the experiences they gathered – in relation to the project's research questions and beyond.
A thin line between ethics and aesthetics haunts these reflections on field research in an African city, approached through the positionality of a researcher from a European context. Based on some visual impressions encountered during the fieldwork, the researcher Francesca Ceola retraces the process of reorientation in a place geographically and culturally very far away from her habitat recognizing what she knows in what she sees. In doing so, she contests the abstraction of “going to do fieldwork” as separate from everyday scientific practices.
How does the Kenyan middle class live? Subproject A05 “Being Home” examines living spaces in Nairobi and their significance for identity formation, drawing on urban developments of its colonial past. Project leader Jochen Kibel and cooperation partner Makau Kitata talk to journalist Brenda Strohmaier about their first findings.
Since the emergence of ride-hailing applications, South African urban centers have seen a rise in violence between the traditional metered taxis and the new ride-share services. Hundreds of criminal cases have been opened over the last years, and protests organized by ride-hailing drivers have drawn attention to the rising tension in the transport industry. A focus on urban infrastructure might shed new light on the history, politics and materiality of places that perpetuate violence in South Africa’s cities.
Wie lassen sich Energiewende, Demokratie und Ökonomie zusammendenken, um den Herausforderungen des Anthropozäns zu begegnen? Der Blogbeitrag skizziert aus einer räumlichen Perspektive, wie Energieinfrastrukturen nicht nur bestimmte Produktionsverhältnisse, sondern auch spezifische Herrschaftsmuster begünstigen. Während Kohle und insbesondere Erdöl kapitalistischen Oligopolismus und Autoritarismus befördern, bieten erneuerbare Energien durchaus postkapitalistische und demokratische Potenziale, wenn Energieautonomie mit lokalen Entscheidungsstrukturen und solidarischen Wirtschaftsformen ineinander ginge.
Navigating public space is globally complex and complicated . In nations of the Global South, where democracies are gradually becoming problematic , it is becoming obvious that these democracies are blurry with porous boundaries. Various mechanisms such as “no trespassing” signs, high fences and strategic CCTV cameras all testify to increasing contestations over what public space means and who has a right to access it. In Africa, the situation is progressively getting worse, as the recent oppression and killings of unarmed protesters in public spaces attest to. For example, the arrest and killings of unarmed protesters in the cities of Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria and Kampala, Uganda , should bring to the fore debates and questions on the reconfiguration and negotiation of public space. In this post, we seek to reflect on the ENDSARS protest in Nigeria and its implications for rights to public space in Nigeria.
The Coronavirus outbreak has had an impact on cities and populations all over the world. Although the virus itself is only a tiny, invisible thing, it has set a challenge for humanity: public spaces in cities have become empty, airports are closed, prayers have been cancelled and people are told to stay home for the first time in our lifetime. As cities are not meant to only satisfy basic human needs but provide crucial physical and social environments for human interaction, the changes the virus has brought to urban spaces have left stark impressions on their inhabitants and vice versa. Our daily habits influence our lives, and the way we act and interact reforms our built environment.