ZEF Public Lecture: Where the wind blows: Emerging disputes over land and leadership in urban villages on the airport reserve in Abidjan

August 24, 2023 | 13:30 h - 14:30 h

We'd like to invite you to ZEF's Public Lecture!

Topic: Where the wind blows: Emerging disputes over land and leadership in urban villages on the airport reserve in Abidjan

Speaker: Dr. Irit Ittner, researcher at IDOS – German Institute of Development and Sustainability.

The lecture will be held in hybrid mode, so you are also welcome to join us online via Zoom: https://uni-bonn.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5wqcuisqzIsG9I3Ho_80q069nRmJGM7ktlA 

Abstract:  The presented paper originates from the “Urban villages by the airport in Mumbai and Abidjan” project that was implemented at the Geographical Institute, University of Bonn (2020-2023, University of Bonn, Fritz-Thyssen Foundation) by two former ZEFa researchers, Dr. Sneha Sharma and Dr. Irit Ittner. The talk gives an overview about project results and focusses on social–spatial relations in the context of airport expansion in Abidjan, Côte d´Ivoire. The defence of customary land rights is analysed by looking at the public domain of the airport land. The ethnographic data included reviews, participant observations and interviews. Disputes merged land issues with claims to local leadership. While the desire to be consulted, urban development and benefit sharing seemed to act as the main drivers of expropriated customary land owners, the housing shortage, as well as issues of multi-level governance and competition also had prominent effects on the escalation of land conflicts.

Dr. Irit Ittner conducted her doctoral research and received her doctoral degree within the ZEF Doctoral Program (Oct. 2003-Jan. 2007). She continued working as a Senior Researcher at ZEF until 2019. Having a background in Social Anthropology and African Studies, Irit worked on natural resources management in Ethiopia and West Africa. She engaged in urban studies from 2016 onwards, also at the Geography Insitute at the University of Bonn, where she received the GIUB International Paper Award last year. In 2022, she began to work on marine social sciences at the IDOS Program “Environmental Governance”. Irit´s current empirical research looks at marine protection and planned gas extraction from the German North Sea, meaning she is conducting ethnographic research about and on East Frisian islands, in Lower Saxony and in the Netherlands.



Andreas Gohlke

Andreas Gohlke