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Community Severance in Urban Africa


Year published: 2022
Categories: Book Chapter
URL Link: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-031-17327-1_8

Author / Authors:

  • Paulo Anciaes
  • Annabel Bradbury


Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Community severance arises when transport infrastructure and motorised traffic are physical or psychological barriers to the movement of pedestrians. This is increasingly the case of many African cities, due to the expansion and upgrade of the road network and the increase in the number of motorised vehicles. These are becoming major barriers to walking, the main mode of transport for large sections of the population. This chapter examines how the problem of community severance is felt in African cities and its consequences on mobility, accessibility, safety, livelihoods, health, wellbeing, and inequalities. We first review existing evidence on community severance across urban Africa, focusing on how the problem reproduces and reinforces social inequalities. We then analyse the extent of severance in a medium-sized city (Praia, Cabo Verde), which is facing fast growth of population, built-up area, road infrastructure, and motorised traffic. Finally, we discuss the potential consequences of inaction in the face of current pressures and the potential for transformation to improve the mobility of pedestrians, proposing pathways and policy solutions to the severance problem.

Community severance,
Barrier effect,
Social equity,


  • Book Chapter