Urbanization and Development in Niamey, Niger

Author: Alison Spindler

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Abstract: This paper unpacks the factors shaping Niamey’s urban development. Starting with population growth, the author examines the causes and nature of Niamey’s spatial, economic, social and political development. The term “environmentally induced economic migration” is employed to explain Niamey’s astounding population growth. In contrast to other cases of urbanization and development examined in Beijing, Moscow and Mumbai, Niamey’s remarkable population has not correlated with significant economic, infrastructural or political development.

After living in Niamey, I have become personally invested in better understanding, elucidating and sharing the alarming and dangerous ways in which this city is being forced to expand despite a total lack of physical, economic and institutional infrastructure. As the global economy and climate change continue to perpetuate cycles of inequality, Niamey may prove to be a prototype, as opposed to an outlier, in the issues it faces.

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