The Nordic Africa Institute


Changing Urban Residency: migration, temporary settlement and new urbanisms in Africa

Started • 01 January 2020

This research project is focused on temporary migration and settlement in developing countries and how, in specific cases, they both extend in time and become permanent, creating unforeseen new urbanisms.

The research analyses how migrants that moved to temporary destinations ended up staying, unexpectedly transforming what were initially provisional agglomerations into new towns and new urban life. It analyses different types of trajectories and cases, motivated by and within different dynamics, involving different types of migrant actors and policy stakeholders to build typologies of existing situations and needed responses.

For this research project, African case studies – in geographically adjacent Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and in Zambia – will be contextualised and compared, namely because they represent different colonial regimes and differently war and conflict-affected cases, opening discussion and reflection on comparisons with other developing contexts.

The central research questions are posed around the causes and conditions for permanent settlement, the dynamics and features of these transformations and the responses needed for improved livelihoods and integration of migrant populations in each specific type of settlement, as narrated and described by residents and supported by documental analysis.

The method of inquiry of the research is both qualitative and quantitative, involving specifically surveys in the three countries and three types of settlements to extract selected information to be compared across case studies.

Dissemination of results will be made mostly through workshops that will be held in 2020 and 2021 and a final conference in 2022, as well as scientific publications and policy-oriented publications.

The team is composed of three female senior researchers who will be responsible for each country research. The PI Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues will work on the Angolan cases, Karen Büscher will work on the DRC and Patience Mususa will study Zambia.

The project is an international research collaboration involving the Nordic Africa Institute and partners in Africa: the University Agostinho Neto – Faculty of Social Sciences (Angola), the University of Kinshasa – Faculty of Social Sciences Policy and Administrative (DRC), and the University of Zambia – School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

This three-year project (Jan 2020-Dec 2022) is funded by Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (Stiftelsen Riksbankens jubileumsfond). Grant nr: P19-0271:1.