Urban Lecture: Uneven Peri-Urbanization    

Understanding the production of uneven self-built settlements in the peri-urban Greater Accra Metropolitan Area through an analysis of land and water relations and practices

The Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA) in Ghana offers an illustrative example for a rapidly growing metropolis. Urbanization leads, however, not only to urban growth, but also produces peri-urban spaces. The most dominant mode of peri-urbanization is the incremental development of self-built settlement sites engulfing former villages at the outskirts of GAMA. In her talk, Lara Esther Bartels offers an analysis of uneven processes of this peri-urbanization mode by examining land and water relations and practices as well as the role of the middle classes in the construction of self-built settlements. She demonstrates that peri-urban spaces are frontiers of de facto privatization and commodification of land for building purposes and water for domestic needs. These land and water relations produce inequalities in access to both resources.

Moreover, the middle classes can successfully consolidate self-built settlements in peri-urban GAMA. Both processes, the land and water privatization and commodification as well as the involvement of the middle classes in this dominant peri-urbanization mode contribute to the development of spatially and socio-economically heterogeneous peri-urban spaces that are, however, deeply uneven.  

Laura Esther Bartels


Lara Esther Bartels is a doctoral researcher at the WaterPower Project, Governance and Sustainability Lab, University of Trier, Germany. Trained as a sociologist in Bielefeld, Germany, Lara completed her M.Sc. degree in Social and Human Ecology at the Institute of Social Ecology in Vienna, Austria.

Her research interests lie in nature-society interactions with a specific focus on land and water and a regional focus on West and East Africa. In her doctoral research, she focuses on how peri-urbanization in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana is shaped by land and water relations and practices. 

Date: 28 September
Place: Mistra Urban Futures, Läraregatan 3, Gothenburg
Time: 11.00-12.30, including a light vegetarian lunch wrap from 12.00
Last day to register: 22 September 

Register here

Mistra Urban Futures, Läraregatan 3, Gothenburg, Sweden

Läraregatan 3