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Non-permanent migration, translocality and governance in transit cities – cases from Ghana and South Africa


May 2012 – July 2013


Dr. Eva Dick, Dr. Thorsten Heitkamp


Mercator Research Center Ruhr, Anschubförderung


On the basis of case studies in Ghana and South Africa the research project examined the impact of diversified migration processes on urban governance in African cities. It focused on transit cities as places that are growing in importance due to increasing temporary migration and trans-local forms of life, processes that convert them into ‘targets’ and passageways of migration. In many cases, the access of poor, temporary migrants to urban opportunity structures and utility services is primarily facilitated through informal and often rural origin-based networks; meanwhile, for various reasons, these problems are neglected by formal actors of urban policy and planning. Within the framework of the research project first the perspective of key stakeholders (transmigrants, formal and informal service providers, urban developers and planners) on the problems of governance of transit migration in selected transit cities was analyzed. On this basis, potential starting points for an “enabling” governance of temporary migration and trans-locality were  identified, including a critical reflection about the principle of territoriality dominating present urban governance.