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Geographies of the meantime: temporalities of housing cooperatives in Kigali, Rwanda

Ndengeyingoma, Billy (2022) Geographies of the meantime: temporalities of housing cooperatives in Kigali, Rwanda. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004439


The thesis examines the slow temporalities of urban housing development through the case of housing cooperatives. Cooperative housing development in Kigali reads as slow relative to the speed, efficiency, and performance parameters that inform the urban trajectory of Rwanda's capital city and shape the research orientation of studies of African urbanism. Drawing on nine months of qualitative fieldwork with eight cooperatives, the thesis aims to understand how cooperative members perceive the temporalities of their housing projects in an urban context mediated by speed. I propose the conceptual framework of the 'geographies of the meantime' to support the empirical reading and theorising of slower temporalities. The geographies of the meantime are concerned with the spaces and social connections built in the interim time before a specific objective, say housebuilding, is achieved. I argue that cooperative members adopt a slower pace of development to collectively negotiate their immediate and long-term aspirations, their social connections, and their interactions with public and private urban housing stakeholders. Cooperative members envisage long-term timeframes of development that rely on slowly consolidated geographies of the meantime. Housing cooperatives progressively acquire land in response to the members' aspirations for homeownership and pursuit of stability. Also, cooperative members speculate about future income-generating ventures in real estate. They lay the groundwork for these future opportunities by institutionalising their solidarity and trust through the organisational form of the cooperative. This slow pace of progress can nonetheless breed frustration and endanger the cohesion of the cooperative. Therefore, the members enact the value of patience to keep the social networks intact and ensure all members can progress at the same pace. This thesis expands the temporal boundaries of studies on African urbanism by drawing insights from slow temporalities of development. This research also contributes to debates on incremental and mutual help housing by shedding light on the socialities created through slowness.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Billy Ndengeyingoma
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD100 Land Use
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Mercer, Claire and Sanyal, Romola

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