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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Planning Education and Research
Title Conceptualizing Livelihood Strategies in African Cities - Planning and Development Implications of Multiple Livelihood Strategies
Volume 26
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
Page numbers 450-465
URL http://jpe.sagepub.com/content/26/4/450.short
The usefulness of the informal sector and the survival strategies approaches for understanding African urban economies has been undermined by the transformations in urban livelihood strategies brought about by the continent's economic crises and neoliberal economic reform policies. Contemporary livelihood strategies in many African cities involve participation in multiple economic activities, usually in both the formal and informal sectors. This paper proposes the “multiple modes of livelihood” (MML) approach as a framework for capturing this emerging livelihood strategy and presents evidence to show the magnitude of the strategy and the kind of activities undertaken. Development and planning implications of this strategy include the following: i) planning theories must reflect the changing livelihood in African cities; ii) the different geographies of such activities within and between urban areas, the proliferation of home-based enterprises in the middle- and professional-class neighborhoods, the emergence of nontraditional household arrangements, and the importance of urban agriculture suggest the need to indigenize urban planning in Africa; and iii) the proliferation of multiple livelihood strategies, especially among public sector employees, has significant implications for national development, especially as it relates to the performance of the public sector.

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