Funding for project on African mega-cities

Dr David Garbin has been awarded a grant under the British Academy Cities and Infrastructure Programme which is part of the UK Government’s £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).

Through the project Dr Garbin will explore the links between mega-urbanisation, development and religion in Central and West African contexts. This work addresses one of the most pressing challenges of contemporary African mega-cities: how to tackle social, moral, strategic and economic issues raised by often spectacular processes of religious urbanisation.

Taking Lagos in Nigeria and Kinshasa in the Congo (the most populated and fastest growing cities in Sub Saharan Africa) as ethnographic case studies,  the project will explore how religious socio-spatial models and strategies engage with challenges of infrastructural development, urban social cohesion and inclusion, safety, and sustainability. The project will provide recommendations aimed at promoting civic urban culture in the context of growing inequalities, urban poverty, and widespread informalisation of life in cities where religious actors play significant infrastructural roles.

Altogether the Academy will support thirteen interdisciplinary research projects, with awards of up to £300,000 each.

The overall aim of the British Academy programme is to ensure that the best UK research across the disciplinary spectrum takes a leading role in addressing the challenges of creating and maintaining sustainable and resilient cities in developing countries.

The research projects funded under the programme will generate evidence to inform future policies and interventions aimed at improving the lives and welfare of people in the developing world, by making cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Professor Ash Amin, Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the British Academy, described sustainable urbanisation as “one of the main and more pressing challenges of the contemporary world” and stressed the need for interdisciplinary research. More information can be found on the British Academy website.