housing and inequality – displacement and resettlement – informality and worlding
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Raffael Beier is a Walter Benjamin research fellow at TU Dortmund, research group "International Planning Studies" (IPS). Previously, he worked at the Centre for Urbanism and Built Environment Studies (CUBES), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and at the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy (IEE), Ruhr University Bochum. Raffael does mixed methods research in Urban Studies, focussing mainly on the social aspects of housing, displacement, and resettlement.
Since the turn of the Millennium, many countries of the Global South have implemented new large-scale, supply-oriented housing programmes. Calling for cities 'without slums', their common objective is the fight against inadequate housing. Most of these housing programmes move population from so-called slums towards new housing at the urban spatial peripheries. Many resettled dwellers appreciate new housing comfort and shelter quality. At the same time, they criticise one-size-fits-all approaches that disregard the heterogeneity of target communities, low affordability for vulnerable population groups, as well as peripheral locations, further away from inner-city job markets and urban centre functions. However, scholarly works dealing with housing-related urban resettlement have focused exclusively on people that actually live in the new houses. While they recognise that many resettled residents never reach the new sites or decide to move further, they have disregarded this significant population group due to methodological issues. As it is difficult to locate these dispersed people, there are mainly assumptions about why people drop out of housing programmes. The objective of this research project is to look explicitly at these people to counter structural biases in the analysis of supply-driven housing and resettlement programmes. For this purpose, the research project analyses post-resettlement mobility in housing programmes in Ethiopia, Morocco, and South Africa in a comparative way. It relies on innovative, flexible, and locally adapted forms of snowball sampling to locate people that left new housing units. It should be analysed why people move out again, where they move, and under which conditions they live after the second move. Through narrative-biographic forms of interviewing the project sheds light on residential trajectories and subjective decision making in order to understand people's lived experiences of and aspirations towards adequate and affordable housing. Thus, the research goes explicitly beyond programmatic resettlement, analysing moving decisions from people's perspectives and in relation to their housing biographies. Due to the analysis of housing preferences of long-term disregarded population groups, the research project allows for more comprehensive and demand-oriented understanding of large-scale, standardised housing programmes. In the long run, this knowledge will be useful to develop innovative housing programmes that take heterogeneous housing demands of marginalised population groups seriously.
The project looks at the resettlement of informal settlement dwellers in Casablanca, Morocco. Using own representative household data the aim is to analyse the impact of resettlement on former shantytown dwellers. It argues that the right to the city conflicts with the right to housing if the idea of "adequate housing" remains limited to its shelter function.