UCL Urban Laboratory


Session 7 - Lilongwe

Contesting & Negotiating Global Urban Processes in Lilongwe, Malawi

By Evance Mwathunga

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Related Abstract

Originally conceived as Malawi’s garden city with modernist ambitions of order, zoning and  segregation, the city of Lilongwe continues to be haunted by rising urbanisation and contestations over  space. Thus, Lilongwe city continues to be a space and site of struggle between global and local  processes; ambiguities between formal and informal governance processes. This paper attempts to  explore how urban landscapes in Lilongwe are being created as well as being contested while focusing  on the impact of transnational and global processes on the production of new urban territories with  respect to three circuits namely: sovereign investments; private sector investments; and development  circuits. Specifically, the paper analyses the city’s strategy as a conceived space to understand the  policy discourses, conceptions, imaginations and local government capacity and/or incapacities and  transnational influences in the production of new urban territories and engagement in the global  processes. Thereafter, the paper investigates how these global processes vis-à-vis localised urban  processes in relation to large scale urban developments impact on urban residents and the urban  morphology.

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