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How urban dwellers deal with ill-considered urban planning: an out-of-place hospital in Kinshasa reappropriated

Kristien Geenen (UGent) and Simon De Nys-Ketels (UGent)
Author
Organization
Project
FWO-funded research project “Urban landscapes of colonial/postcolonial health care. Towards a spatial mapping of the performance of hospital infrastructure in Kinshasa, Mbandaka and Kisangani (DR Congo) from past to present (1920-2014)” project n° G045015N, 2015-2019
Abstract
One of the key characteristics of many a colonial city, is its binary spatial structure, in which a neutral zone separates the European residential area from the “native” one. Relying on insights from both urban planning and anthropology, this paper discusses the inherited colonial urban structure and its resulting mobility patterns by looking at the location of a public hospital, originally situated within such former neutral zone in Kinshasa (DRC), from its origin to the present. Indeed, although this hospital, which served the Congolese population, was included within the neutral zone, it was considered to be too close to the European residential area. Moreover, its location soon proved problematic in yet another sense. As the hospital continuously expanded, more and more surrounding roads had to be cut off to provide space for new pavilions, consequently clogging the thoroughfares of the city. This situation even worsened when, in the late 70s, the hospital management blocked off one of the main traffic roads that ran alongside its entrance, turning the site into an obstacle within its dense surrounding urban tissue. Nonetheless, the pedestrians outwit the obstacle the compound has become. They use well-known but officially unauthorized shortcuts through the enclosed hospital site by negotiating with the hospital guards, thus forcing themselves a way through. As such, through these collective daily movements the citizens reappropriate the hospital site and counterbalance the interrupted traffic flows, making do and creatively coping with this historically inherited reality.
Keywords
hospital infrastructure, kinshasa, pedestrian mobility, urban planning

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Geenen, Kristien, and Simon De Nys-Ketels. “How Urban Dwellers Deal with Ill-considered Urban Planning: An Out-of-place Hospital in Kinshasa Reappropriated.” African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) Conference 2016. 2016. Print.
APA
Geenen, Kristien, & De Nys-Ketels, S. (2016). How urban dwellers deal with ill-considered urban planning: an out-of-place hospital in Kinshasa reappropriated. African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) Conference 2016. Presented at the African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) Conference 2016.
Chicago author-date
Geenen, Kristien, and Simon De Nys-Ketels. 2016. “How Urban Dwellers Deal with Ill-considered Urban Planning: An Out-of-place Hospital in Kinshasa Reappropriated.” In African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) Conference 2016.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Geenen, Kristien, and Simon De Nys-Ketels. 2016. “How Urban Dwellers Deal with Ill-considered Urban Planning: An Out-of-place Hospital in Kinshasa Reappropriated.” In African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) Conference 2016.
Vancouver
1.
Geenen K, De Nys-Ketels S. How urban dwellers deal with ill-considered urban planning: an out-of-place hospital in Kinshasa reappropriated. African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) Conference 2016. 2016.
IEEE
[1]
K. Geenen and S. De Nys-Ketels, “How urban dwellers deal with ill-considered urban planning: an out-of-place hospital in Kinshasa reappropriated,” in African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) Conference 2016, Cambridge, 2016.
@inproceedings{8070132,
  abstract     = {One of the key characteristics of many a colonial city, is its binary spatial structure, in which a neutral zone separates the European residential area from the “native” one. Relying on insights from both urban planning and anthropology, this paper discusses the inherited colonial urban structure and its resulting mobility patterns by looking at the location of a public hospital, originally situated within such former neutral zone in Kinshasa (DRC), from its origin to the present. 

Indeed, although this hospital, which served the Congolese population, was included within the neutral zone, it was considered to be too close to the European residential area. Moreover, its location soon proved problematic in yet another sense. As the hospital continuously expanded, more and more surrounding roads had to be cut off to provide space for new pavilions, consequently clogging the thoroughfares of the city. This situation even worsened when, in the late 70s, the hospital management blocked off one of the main traffic roads that ran alongside its entrance, turning the site into an obstacle within its dense surrounding urban tissue.

Nonetheless, the pedestrians outwit the obstacle the compound has become. They use well-known but officially unauthorized shortcuts through the enclosed hospital site by negotiating with the hospital guards, thus forcing themselves a way through. As such, through these collective daily movements the citizens reappropriate the hospital site and counterbalance the interrupted traffic flows, making do and creatively coping with this historically inherited reality.},
  author       = {Geenen, Kristien and De Nys-Ketels, Simon},
  booktitle    = {African Studies Association of the UK (ASAUK) Conference 2016},
  keywords     = {hospital infrastructure,kinshasa,pedestrian mobility,urban planning},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Cambridge},
  title        = {How urban dwellers deal with ill-considered urban planning: an out-of-place hospital in Kinshasa reappropriated},
  year         = {2016},
}