kevin bessat public finance mistra urban futures cape town

Urban public finance

Urban public finance is a complex sector. It includes the study of how urban infrastructure is financed, as well as the ways in which urban authorities manage public money. There is an established literature on urban public finance, much of which is comparative in nature.

Undeniably, urban public finance plays a crucial role in urban transformation. The fiscal architecture of cities and the choices regarding revenue and expenditure fundamentally shape city development processes. In addition, the ways in which infrastructure is funded and financed has implications of urban access, participation, and equity.

In order to intervene effectively in making cities more just, it is essential that we understand the operations and logics of urban public finance systems. It is equally important that we identify potential levers for change.

The first phase of the Urban Public Finance comparative project examines urban public finance in Cape Town and Kisumu. What is the fiscal architecture of the city? What are the main sources of revenue? How are different types of infrastructure and services financed? What are the key obstacles and opportunities? The objective is to get a clear picture of the current operations of the system.

In the second phase of the project, we will explore innovative ways of leveraging additional financial resources and making better use of these resources. We will also look at extending the scope of the project to other cities, and to including new global initiatives (e.g. green financing).

Liza Rose Cirolia. lead researcher,  at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, and co-author James Christopher Mizes, University of California, Berkeley, recently published a working paper called “Property Tax in African Secondary Cities: Insights from the Cases of Kisumu (Kenya) and M’Bour (Senegal)".

Usefulness

The project will assist in making urban public finance more accessible to scholars and practitioners concerned with socio-spatial justice. It will also help those involved with public finance recognize their urban impact. In the long term, the aim is to coproduce knowledge on creative, innovative, and just modes of urban public finance.

 

Publikationer

Cirolia, L. R. (2020). Fractured fiscal authority and fragmented infrastructures: Financing sustainable urban development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Habitat International, 104, 102233. doi:10.1016/j.habitatint.2020.102233
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Type: Vetenskaplig artikel (refereegranskad)
The study of fiscal geographies foregrounds the spatialities of fiscal instruments, such as taxes or bonds. Of central concern in the fiscal geographies literature are the ways that fiscal spaces are co-constituted with stateform and the built environment. Recent scholarship argues for ‘placing’ fiscal geographies in urban studies, drawing attention to the ways in which fiscal tools shape urban governance and the material development of city spaces. I build on this work, further placing fiscal geographies in the context of an ordinary city in Africa, Kisumu (Kenya). Inspired by conceptual and methodological debates within the ‘African urbanism’ literature, I provide a rich account of two ‘sites’ through which Kisumu’s fiscal geographies are given effect. First, I focus on the newly formed Kisumu County Government. The County represents a reterritorialization of urban authority. This authority is given substance, and contested, through fiscal instruments. Second, I focus on low-level bureaucrats. I foreground the relationship between fiscal policy and everyday practices. These two sites draw our attention to the multiple and relational logics at play in Kisumu’s fiscal geographies.
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Type: Vetenskaplig artikel (refereegranskad)
Liza Rose Cirolia (2019), Accounting for the C/city: Analyzing Kisumu’s Fiscal Configurations, doctoral thesis, University of Cape Town
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Type: Akademisk avhandling
Berrisford, S., Cirolia, L. R., & Palmer, I. (2018). Land-based financing in sub-Saharan African cities. Environment and Urbanization, 30(1), 35–52. doi:10.1177/0956247817753525
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Type: Vetenskaplig artikel (refereegranskad)