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Urban space as a tool for control and counteraction, the Kenya-neighbourhood in colonial Congo

(2016)
Author
Organization
Abstract
Despite the real and tangible improvements for Africans resulting from the socio-economic plans developed by many colonial powers in the late forties, “welfare colonialism” (Young, 1994) walked a fine line between philanthropy and conservation of a large productive labour stock. By focussing on the development of a neighbourhood for Africans in Lubumbashi, RDC, this paper investigates how urban planning and police control were strategically combined to realize the double agenda of “welfare colonialism”. Indeed, by providing higher-quality housing within an easily controllable grid of avenues and alleyways, the colonial government simultaneously improved living conditions for residents and facilitated the policing of the African population. However, due to financial restraints, some aspects of the original design crucial for the controllability of the neighbourhood - e.g. asphalting of alleyways, public lighting - were never implemented. This allowed occasional small-scaled riots between African inhabitants and policemen to occur, which in turn fed the already growing European fear for large-scale African uprisings. As a response, the colonial administration not only restructured the public force, downgrading African policemen’s jurisdictional powers, it also reinterpreted and “militarised” the urban space by mapping out routes for police squads and strategic points for interventions and police blockades. As such, this paper not only sheds light on the urban planning strategies to enforce law and order, it also suggests that a spatial lecture of practices of control and the way they are counteracted by the colonized, is necessary to fully understand colonial rule of police and military forces in Africa.
Keywords
Police, Planning Power, Colonial Africa, Colonial insurgency., Democratic Republic of Congo

Citation

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

Chicago
De Nys-Ketels, Simon. 2016. “Urban Space as a Tool for Control and Counteraction, the Kenya-neighbourhood in Colonial Congo.” In .
APA
De Nys-Ketels, S. (2016). Urban space as a tool for control and counteraction, the Kenya-neighbourhood in colonial Congo. Presented at the Contested Cities.
Vancouver
1.
De Nys-Ketels S. Urban space as a tool for control and counteraction, the Kenya-neighbourhood in colonial Congo. 2016.
MLA
De Nys-Ketels, Simon. “Urban Space as a Tool for Control and Counteraction, the Kenya-neighbourhood in Colonial Congo.” 2016. Print.
@inproceedings{8133076,
  abstract     = {Despite the real and tangible improvements for Africans resulting from the socio-economic plans developed by many colonial powers in the late forties, “welfare colonialism” (Young, 1994) walked a fine line between philanthropy and conservation of a large productive labour stock. By focussing on the development of a neighbourhood for Africans in Lubumbashi, RDC, this paper investigates how urban planning and police control were strategically combined to realize the double agenda of “welfare colonialism”. Indeed, by providing higher-quality housing within an easily controllable grid of avenues and alleyways, the colonial government simultaneously improved living conditions for residents and facilitated the policing of the African population. However, due to financial restraints, some aspects of the original design crucial for the controllability of the neighbourhood - e.g. asphalting of alleyways, public lighting - were never implemented. This allowed occasional small-scaled riots between African inhabitants and policemen to occur, which in turn fed the already growing European fear for large-scale African uprisings. As a response, the colonial administration not only restructured the public force, downgrading African policemen’s jurisdictional powers, it also reinterpreted and “militarised” the urban space by mapping out routes for police squads and strategic points for interventions and police blockades.
As such, this paper not only sheds light on the urban planning strategies to  enforce law and order, it also suggests that a spatial lecture of practices of control and the way they are counteracted by the colonized, is necessary to fully understand colonial rule of police and military forces in Africa.},
  author       = {De Nys-Ketels, Simon},
  keywords     = {Police,Planning Power,Colonial Africa,Colonial insurgency.,Democratic Republic of Congo},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Madrid},
  title        = {Urban space as a tool for control and counteraction, the Kenya-neighbourhood in colonial Congo},
  year         = {2016},
}