Armed conflict and cross-border asymmetries in urban development: A contextualized spatial analysis of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gisenyi, Rwanda

Pech Lisa*, Levers Christian, Büscher Karen, Walker Blake

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Armed conflicts often cause significant structural disturbance and modification to urban areas. These manifest as changes to the built environment either through destruction and diminution of built area or through an increase in extent and the number of buildings. The magnitude of conflict-induced displacement and migration are dependent upon a range of socio-political factors, resulting in variabilities in conflict-induced urban growth. Border cities provide a valuable setting to compare these variations, as they share geographical and cultural similarities, enabling comparative analysis of the conditions leading to divergent trajectories. This study examines the effects of armed inter- and intra-state conflict on urban spatial development both within and across national borders, focusing on the proximal cities of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Gisenyi, Rwanda, between 1989 and 2014 (due to the availability of cloud-free satellite imagery). We conducted a visual analysis of high- to very high-resolution satellite imagery to map spatial development (both urban extent and individual buildings) for both cities. Based on this analysis, we then conducted site visits and interviews, through which underlying drivers of urban development pathways were identified and initial steps were made to disentangle conflict- and non-conflict drivers, as not all urban changes and differences are related to the presence or absence of armed conflict. These are situated in different phases of armed conflict in the region, the governance of their repercussions (or lack thereof), and the complex interdependencies between the two cities. Our analysis revealed remarkable differences in spatial development and urban morphology. While Goma's urban area expands and densifies, Gisenyi's spatial extent remains relatively stable. Stakeholders on the ground identified armed conflict, linked population flows including internal and cross-border forced displacements, as well as differences in handling conflict-repercussions between the states as underlying drivers of the observed spatial changes. This study thus provides detailed evidence on the processes and drivers implicit in urban development and change in cross-border cities, their similarities, differences, and interdependencies, with a particular focus on armed conflicts’ domestic and cross-border effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105711
JournalLand Use Policy
Volume109
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Collaborative Research Center on Areas of Limited Statehood (SFB 700) for funding and support. We additionally thank Tim Glawion, Tina Hummel and Maximilian Schoppa for their valuable advice and (carto)graphic support. a Congolese inhabitant of Bugoyi/Quartier RCD in Gisenyi, 2017. Interview Goma-Gisenyi - Migration between the two cities, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). a Congolese Prosecutor, 2016. Security Situation and Crime Rates/DRC, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). a master's student from Goma at ISAU, 2016. Interview # 32, Institut Superieur d'Architecture et d'Urbanisme (ISAU), in: Pech, L. (Ed.), Titres Fonciers, Planification Urbaine et D?veloppement Urbain - Goma. a member of the Rwandan Red Cross, 2017. Interview - Genocide, Civil War and (Forced) Migration, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). a professor at ISAU Kinshasa, 2016. Interview # 20, Institut Superieur d'Architecture et d'Urbanisme (ISAU), in: Pech, L. (Ed.). a researcher of Pole Institute Goma, 2016. Interview # 17, Interview in Gisenyi due to problems at the border, in: Pech, L. (Ed.), Pole Institute Goma. a researcher of Pole Institute Goma, 2017. Interview - Cross Border Migration due to Insecurity/Infrastucture/Livelihood Opportunities, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). a Rwandan inhabitant of Bugoyi/Quartier RCD in Gisenyi, 2017. Histoire du Quartier RCD, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee and a volunteer at the Don Bosco Center, 2017. Interview # 49, Interview at Don Bosco Center Ngangi, in: Pech, L. Schuh, P. (Eds.). an employee and a volunteer of the Congolese Red Cross, 2016. Interview # 14, Congolese Red Cross Goma (Interview in Gisenyi, Rwanda due to problems at the border), in: Pech, L. (Ed.), Croix Rouge Congolaise. an employee of Bureau d'?tudes d'amenagement et d'urbanisme (BEAU), 2016. Interview # 31, Office for land-use planning and urban planning, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of Goma's Observatoire Volcanologique (OVG), 2017. Volcanic Vents, Hazard and Affected Areas in the Case of Future Outbreaks, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of MONUSCO's GIS Unit, 2016. Work of GIS Unit, mapping, hazard analysis, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of MONUSCO, 2016. Interview # 5, informal background talk, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of the Congolese National Commission for Refugees (CNR), 2017. La Situation des R?fugi?s en RDC, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of the Congolese Red Cross, 2016. Interview # 45, visit of IDP Camp Mugunga I and former IDP Site Lac Vert, Buhimba, Bulengo and Bananeraie, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of the One Stop Center of Rubavu District, 2017. Urban Planning and Administrative Structures of Rwanda, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure, 2017. in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of UN Habitat, 2016. Interview # 37, UN Habitat Goma, in: Pech, L. (Ed.), UN Habitat Goma. an employee of UN Habitat Goma, 2016. Interview # 20, Interview in Gisenyi due to problems at the border, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of UN Habitat Kinshasa, 2016. Interview # 6, UN Habitat Kinshasa in: Pech, L. (Ed.), UN Habitat. an employee of UN OCHA Kinshasa, 2016a. Interveiw #, Humanitarian Affairs Officer, UN OCHA Kinshasa, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of UN OCHA Kinshasa, 2016b. Interview # 2, Coordination and Evaluation Officer: Planning and Ressource Mobilisation Unit at UN OCHA, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an employee of UNHCR Goma, 2016. Interview # 21, UNHCR Goma (Interview in Gisenyi, Rwanda due to problems at the border), in: Pech, L. (Ed.), UNHCR. an inhabitant of Goma - Mikeno, 2016. Interview # 40, in Mikeno/Birere, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an inhabitant of Goma, 2016. Interview # 13, several interviews with the same interviewee, in: Pech, L. (Ed.). an inhabitant of Himbi/local construction entrepreneur - Goma, 2016. Interview # 41, in Himbi, in: Pech, L. (Ed.).

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Collaborative Research Center on Areas of Limited Statehood ( SFB 700 ) for funding and support. We additionally thank Tim Glawion, Tina Hummel and Maximilian Schoppa for their valuable advice and (carto)graphic support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Armed conflict
  • Cross-border cities
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Field research
  • Rwanda
  • Satellite Imagery Analysis
  • Sub-Sahara Africa
  • Urban development

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