While land issues have been widely documented in rural areas, they are still under-researched in urban settings. To fill this gap, I look at the politics of urban land in Eldoret, a dynamic and fast-growing secondary town located in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Endowed with economic, social and political value, and often described as “better than gold,” urban land has become, under the pressure of rapid urbanisation, a highly contested resource and a sensitive topic. Looking at various cases of land disputes in Eldoret, I seek to answer the following research questions: (1) how – and on which basis – do actors articulate land claims in the urban setting of Eldoret? And (2) how does land affect urban governance and the ways in which people relate to each other in the city?
Based on twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork, the PhD research innovatively takes land as a heuristic entry point to explore urban governance and to understand how people live together – or apart – in a city like Eldoret. Aiming at better conceptualising the role played by land in urban areas, I suggest that land deeply structures urban life, and engages the meaning of citizenship, belonging, and the very making of the city.
Prof. Dr. Till Förster
SNF (Project ‘Corruption, Conflict and Cities in East and West Africa’), Forschungsfonds der Universität Basel (Abschlussfinanzierung)