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The role of power, politics and history in achieving sanitation service provision in informal urban environments: a case study of Lusaka, Zambia

Lookup NU author(s): Ruth Kennedy-Walker, Professor Jaime AmezagaORCiD, Dr Charlotte Paterson


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Many theoretical urban sanitation planning approaches exist, but there is limited evidence of the successful implementation of these approaches, prompting questions about their suitability, especially in complex urban environments in low-income countries. Using primary and secondary data from Lusaka, Zambia, we explore possible limitations of these theoretical planning approaches in informal peri-urban areas. The findings show that while the “enabling environment” aspects stressed by the literature are weak here, these limiting factors are significantly affected by a poor planning culture and inherent dynamics of power, politics and history. A fuller understanding of the local situation is needed to support the transition of planning approaches from theory to reality, so that real progress in sanitation service delivery can be achieved in complex urban environments.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kennedy-Walker R, Amezaga JM, Paterson CA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Urbanization

Year: 2015

Volume: 27

Issue: 2

Pages: 1-16

Print publication date: 01/10/2015

Online publication date: 22/05/2015

ISSN (print): 0956-2478

ISSN (electronic): 1746-0301

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/0956247815583253


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Funder referenceFunder name
EP/J00538X/1UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council