Mr Shaun Smith

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Personal profile

My research is concerned with the relationship between service delivery, processes of eviction and the dominant forms of land tenure in the low-income settlements of Kenya's 'secondary' cities. Guiding questions include the ways in which service/infrastructure provision is produced in and by everyday socio-spatial relations. Who benefits (or does not benefit) when services are installed and how does this alter the relationship between landlords and tenants? How can a better understanding of the 'land issue' inform those institutions concerned with infrastructure/services (the state, NGOs, international donors) to better meet the needs of the most vulnerable (such as the (quasi) landless and women without legal title).


The research is focussed empirically on two of Kenya's 'secondary' towns (Kisumu and Kitale), as an example of rapidly growing urban areas which have received less attention than their illustrious counter-parts – the so called 'mega' or 'global cities'. The research works in collaboration with the international NGO Practical Action, a partnership that emerged from my Masters' thesis based on research into forced and 'silent' evictions in Kisumu, Kenya in 2011. My current research progresses naturally from this research and is particularly concerned to analyse how traditional forms of forced evictions are increasingly transposed and obscured by compensated evictions, 'silent' evictions and the general function of the slum rental economy taken as a whole. The research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

Educational background

BA (Hons) Geography - University of Plymouth

MSc Practising Sustainable Development - Royal Holloway

PhD/MPhil Candidate - Royal Holloway

ID: 2746118