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Infrastructural Challenges in Smaller African Cities: Digital Technologies and Water Infrastructure for Sustainable Towns?
Funder: European CommissionProject code: 897314 Call for proposal: H2020-MSCA-IF-2019
Funded under: H2020 | MSCA-IF-EF-ST Overall Budget: 196,708 EURFunder Contribution: 196,708 EUR

‘Infrastructural Challenges in Smaller African Cities...’ is an innovative research project into water and digital infrastructures in smaller cities in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines the growing adoption of digital technologies in water infrastructure, an emerging phenomenon across urban Africa that remains under-investigated. It focuses on the dynamic and vibrant context of smaller cities in sub-Saharan Africa, which are experiencing accelerated urban growth but continue to be neglected in urban and infrastructure academic research. Examining water and digital infrastructures in two smaller Lusophone cities in Africa – Nampula, Mozambique and Bissau, Guinea-Bissau – will establish new, in-depth understandings of the infrastructural challenges, models and solutions emerging in smaller cities. In this way, this research will contribute to broader theorisations of infrastructure and African cities by bringing into these debates the experiences of a diversity of cities. This project will also shed light on the emerging social, political and material implications of the growing adoption of digital water technologies, and on the modes of urbanity specific to smaller cities. It will produce findings relevant to policy debates and Sustainable Development Goals 6 and 11. The research will adopt an innovative mix of qualitative methods, including mobile methods and ‘water biographies’. Novel user engagement and dissemination strategies will facilitate the engagement of different academic and non-academic audiences. Supervision by a world expert with networks across the Francophone and Anglophone academic worlds (Professor Sylvy Jaglin at LATTS), the opportunity to work in the Francophone research context, and an institutional visit to a research centre in Portugal (the Centre for Social Studies in Coimbra) will maximise this project’s ambition to strengthen links and shape conversations on urban research across literatures and scholarly networks.

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