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Hinges and Fringes: Conceptualising the peri-urban in Central Africa

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents the concept of peri-urbanity in the dynamic processes of social change taking place throughout central Africa. Peri-urban areas in central Africa are characterised by proximity to a densely populated urban settlement, rapid population growth, severe environmental degradation, hybrid governance structures that juxtapose state agencies and traditional authorities, extractive and productive economic activities for subsistence and trade and a hinge dimension linking such areas to both cities and rural hinterlands. The 1966 Bakajika law enabled the state to regain full ownership of land, including the awarding of agricultural, forest and mining concessions. Agriculture, fuel wood harvesting, charcoal production(Lubumbashi) and animal husbandry are the important activities in peri-urban areas. There is little doubt that demographic pressure will continue in peri-urban areas, that the environment will be increasingly degraded and people living in the areas will find access to land for housing and agriculture more and more challenging.

Keywords: agriculture; animal husbandry; Bakajika law; Central Africa; charcoal production; demographic pressure; environment; Lubumbashi; Peri-urban



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