This report uses the term ‘informal settlements’ to refer both to ‘unplanned settlements’, and to what are frequently termed ‘slums’ or ‘slum settlements’. This is firstly to encompass the diversity of conditions and challenges facing urban inhabitants in Freetown, as they manifest differently in different social and spatial contexts throughout the city, not all of which can be characterised as ‘slums’. As Lombard explains, Informal settlements are characterised by “irregular land tenure…a manifestation of poor housing standards, lack of basic services & a symptom of dysfunctional urban societies where inequalities are both tolerated & allowed to fester” (2014: 3). Secondly the authors hope to avoid reproducing social stigmas that can accompany the terms ‘slum’ and ‘slum dweller’, and in doing so reframe the characterisation of poor urban settlements away from living conditions and privations, towards the relationship between ‘informal’, frequently marginalised urban communities and more ‘formal’ urban actors and processes.
Towards Meeting the Knowledge and Capacity Building Gaps for Equitable Urban Development in Freetown
In Freetown, Sierra Leone, urban informal settlements reflect on going processes of marginalisation and exclusion. The dynamics of social and spatial marginalisation are complex, and poorly understood. In part this lack of understanding stems from inadequate knowledge about structures and processes that lead to the proliferation of urban informal settlements, as well as from significant knowledge gaps regarding the social, economic, and environmental factors that lead to the marginalisation of the urban poor.
Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC)
The Sierra Leone Urban Research Centre (SLURC), based in Freetown, is a globally connected research centre created through a partnership between the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (University College London) and the Institute of Geography and Development Studies (Njala University).
The centre aims to generate capacity building as well as research initiatives in cities across Sierra Leone focused on the well-being of residents of informal settlements. This will be achieved by: Read More
- ABOUT US
- Urban Health (Scoping of Urban Health Systems in Freetown Informal Settlements)
- Urban Livelihoods and the City Economy (Urban Livelihoods and Gender in Freetown Informal Settlement)
- Urban Vulnerability and Resilience (Urban Humanitarian Response and Empowerment)
- Urban Vulnerability and Resilience (Profiling Urban Risk)
- RESOURCE UNIT