Archimedes Muzenda is a senior research associate at the African Urban Institute. His research and technical advisory work covers the transformation of cities across Africa focusing on land use planning, urban renewal and municipal reform. His most recent book, Dystopia, discusses the fragmentation caused by specialist approaches to the development of African cities.
The rights-based approach of prioritizing housing the furthest behind first has become popular yet the effectiveness of such approach in creating inclusive cities need to be interrogated. Because, as well intentioned as the approach may be, it may create challenges that weaken the housing delivery process and eventually turn cities across Africa into worse off conditions.
In the international development, the emergence of new ideas and policy issues as well as scarce funding for development have led to the notion of “transform or perish” among development organisations. UN Habitat is one organisation on the periphery of the UN system facing relevance and funding challenges as urban issues evolve and proliferate in language and scope.