Closing the urban infrastructure gap for sustainable urban development in Sub Saharan Africa

Moving to scale in building urban resilience

Authored by: Shuaib Lwasa

The Routledge Handbook of Urban Resilience

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138583597
eBook ISBN: 9780429506666
Adobe ISBN:


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The notion of urban resilience is defined and operationalized in diverse ways depending on the perspective and scale of analysis. The heterogeneity of urban infrastructure is now recognized in cities of the Global South but not properly unpacked for integration in urban systems, nor contextualized for resilience in African cities. This is because urban development is still following the path of highly centralized and networked systems of infrastructure that do not recognize the much diverse hybrid systems at micro to meso-city scales. The heterogeneous infrastructures built through small private investments are complex compared to the state-dominated centralized systems due to their multiple technologies and involvement of people in implementing and operationalization these technologies. The heterogenous system is described as provisioning that denotes the modes of reproduction regimes of urban services. The system has evolved to provide scalable solutions that integrate urban populations of low-income settlements into the city-scale infrastructure development and help build resilience. Although the heterogeneous systems are not the panacea for closing the infrastructure gaps in cities like Kampala, the urban poor have demonstrated individual and group ingenuity in creating diverse scalable infrastructure solutions. This chapter illustrates how heterogeneous systems in Kampala are moving to scale in urban infrastructure development to close the gap and contribute to building urban resilience.

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