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Who is ‘the Public’: Infrastructure of Displacement and Urban Resettlement in Mozambique


Year published: 2019
Categories: Journal Article
URL Link: https://www.alexandrinepress.co.uk/built-environment/urban-land-grabs-africa

Author / Authors:

  • Kei Otsuki


This paper explores possibilities of inclusive urban development by examining the relationships between physical infrastructure, displacement and resettlement. It pays particular attention to the notions of 'development' and 'the public'. Infrastructure as public works often justifies the displacement of people for the sake of the wider population's 'development'. It can also serve to benefit the displaced people if it includes them in the 'public' that participates in the 'development', especially in the form of ensuring a sound resettlement experience. The question is: how can this inclusion be envisioned and practised? To answer this question, this paper examines recent experiences of development-induced displacement and resettlement in Mozambique by using two examples: the Maputo?KaTembe bridge and its resettlement programme, as debated at the recent National Conference on Resettlement and in published sources, and the resettlement programme of the Limpopo National Park, based on primary field research. The paper analyses these resettlement experiences through three major accounts of infrastructure centred on state-building and formalization, co-production and heterogeneity, and open source and sharing urbanism. The paper argues that recognizing the heterogeneity and sharing aspects of infrastructure development in the post-resettlement context is key to reconstituting the public and promoting inclusive urban development in the major infrastructure development that accompanies displacement and resettlement.

Built Environment 44, 4 (January 2019): 493-508, special issue on urban land grabs in Africa


  • Journal Article