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Informal power structures: towards provision of services and security of tenure

Ahmed, Saeed Ud Din, Mehmood, Abid ORCID: and Brown, Alison ORCID: 2020. Informal power structures: towards provision of services and security of tenure. Van den Broeck, Pieter, Sadiq, Asiya, Hiergens, Ide, Molina, Monica Quintana, Verschure, Han and Moulaert, Frank, eds. Communities, Land and Social Innovation: Land Taking and Land Making in an Urbanising World, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 195-213.

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This chapter analyses the role of informal power structures, such as those social bonds involving identities (ethnicity, religion, etc.), political affiliation and neighbourhood relations, in terms of control over urban spaces. It is based on a case study comprising of a section of a formally developed neighbourhood called North Nazimabad and its adjacent informally developed settlements located in the central district of Karachi, inhabited by a variety of social groups. It looks at property control mechanisms forming the basic tool used by local power elites to control space and place and to secure or threaten land tenure, as well as access to goods and services. The findings suggest that in the absence of an active formal governance system and service provision, informal structures around identities (social, religious or political) fill the gap and create parallel power structures to make up for the lacking goods and services. Such bonds on one hand ensure tenure security for the subscribing groups while on the other these are found as the proponents of threats to the non-subscribing groups or individuals. The chapter also highlights that settlements, irrespective of their formal or informal status of tenure, often face a lack of formal goods and services provision, leading to spatial segregation on identity basis. In such contexts, contrary to the accepted notion that security of tenure depends on formal land titles, it is found that informal power structures tend to ensure security of land tenure and service provision for communities.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Publisher: Edward Elgar
ISBN: 9781788973762
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2022 10:37

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