No Trace of Public Space? Searching for Public Urban Life in Lilongwe

Dokumentart: Master-/Diplomarbeit
Institut: Urban Design
Sprache: Englisch
Erstellungsjahr: 2018
Zugriffsbeschränkung: nur innerhalb des Universitäts-Campus
SWD-Schlagwörter: Öffentlicher Raum , Urbanität , Lilongwe , Malawi , Afrika
Freie Schlagwörter (Deutsch): Öffentlicher Raum, Lilongwe, Malawi, Globaler Süden, Postkoloniale Studien, Urbanität, Afrika
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Public Space, Lilongwe, Malawi, Global South, Postcolonial Studies, Southern Urbanism, Urbanity, Africa
DDC-Sachgruppe: Sozialwissenschaften, Soziologie, Anthropologie

Kurzfassung auf Englisch:

This work is about public spaces in Lilongwe, assuming that public space is determined by the public urban life being lived in a given context. It is, therefore, strongly shaped by local cultures, lifestyles, and everyday occurrences. As such public space is less understood as a physical entity but more as a performative practice (Sennett 2017) and a platform for social intersections (Simone 2010). This work traces these unacknowledged public spaces by Lilongwe’s urban planning sector. It explores where the publics in Lilongwe can be found instead and how they create and shape public space in the city, including water kiosks, the Labor Office, Kachere in Chinsapo, WhatsApp groups, a churches square in Kauma, Bawo players at the Craft Market, the Area 13 Market, and a home plot in a high density residential area. The latter three are presented in more in-depth case studies while the other examples serve more as introductory case studies for further research. None of the case studies presented aim to be exhaustive but are utilized to make a point with regard to public urban life and potential interpretations of public space which are, finally, assembled in five Food For Thoughts. These aim to inspire future decision-making processes concerned with public urban life or public spaces, especially in Lilongwe’s urban planning sector. Moreover, they can, for one, fill up the void created by the absence of public space debates and, secondly, not only fill it up but fill it up with ideas that are deeply connected to local public urban life and not imported from other, foreign, or EuroAmerican practices. In this manner, this work further aims to show how the legacy of colonial town planning and dominant global practices in urban planning can be challenged by adopting a southern perspective that is based on truly local insights (De Boeck 2016; Myers 2011; Roy 2009; Watson 2009). Looking at local public urban life can subsequently also serve as a foundation for a more grounded understanding of Lilongwe’s urbanity (Jenkins 2013). What kind of city is Lilongwe, after all? The answer most likely lies somewhere between neatly collected statistics as well as everyday practices that do not fit into single digits or words. But one can assume that the answer does not lie in any of the currently circulating master plans, land use plans, and zoning schemes as neither addresses Lilongwe’s publics although it so profoundly determines a city’s urbanity.

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