The Quest for Spatial Justice: From the Margins to the Centre


Kinyanjui, Mary Njeri. 2014. "The Quest for Spatial Justice: From the Margins to the Centre." In Women and the Informal Economy in Urban Africa: From the Margins to the Centre, 87-98. London: Zed Books.   

Author: Mary Njeri Kinyanjui


"As has been illustrated in the preceding chapters, the city authorities have rarely been supportive of the informal sector. They see it as a nuisance and a source of insecurity. Consecutive local government authorities have therefore worked hard to remove the informal economy from the central business district (CBD), choosing to contain it in the city periphery. The conflict over city space dates back to the colonial period when the city was segregated on the basis of race. During the colonial period, Europeans occupied the most accessible parts of the city while Asians occupied the middle spaces. Africans occupied the city out- skirts in the area that is known today as Eastlands. While the African male migrant had the right to access spaces as a worker, the African woman did not have such rights. Her access to the city was determined by marital status.

"Historically, women in Kenya were excluded from land ownership in both urban and rural areas by both the patriarchal and the state laws that gave men leverage in land rights. Land belonged to men, and women could have only user rights. However, Kenya’s new constitution has given women a reprieve by according them the right to own and inherit land. Land is a critical factor of production: according to Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto, lack of land rights has not only held down the poor of Latin America in informality, but it has also denied them the chance to become capitalists (de Soto 1989). Consequently, the World Bank has proposed the need to ease land rights in developing countries as a strategy to facilitate people’s exit from poverty (Deininger 2003)" (Kinyanjui 2014, 87).

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Americas, South America Countries: Kenya, Peru

Year: 2014

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