The Politics of Informal Urban Growth

Measuring the Global Relationship between Clientelism and Informal Urbanization
- | Treats, tea, and an interdisciplinary discussion in the Urban Studies office, 414 McNeil Building
Ghana collage

Presenter:   Chandan Deuskar, Doctoral Candidate, City and Regional Planning

Discussant:   Mariaflavia Harari, Assistant Professor, Real Estate Department


How does politics affect patterns of urban growth? In developing democracies across Asia, Africa, Latin America, and elsewhere, the urban poor often access land and services not through formal plans, policies, and programs but through informal patron-client relationships. These channels of political patronage impact patterns of urban growth as well as the ability to implement formal urban plans, but these impacts have not been well understood. Using new sources of data, Chandan Deuskar demonstrates that these political dynamics are associated with specific types of urban growth across a global sample of 200 cities. Through a case study of Ghana, his research also explores how urban planners in such environments respond to the political pressures that undermine their power.