Governance of urban green infrastructure in informal settlements of Windhoek, Namibia

Amayaa Wijesinghe, Jessica P.R. Thorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Facing increased rural-urban migration, population growth, climate change impacts, and cascading natural, security, and health hazards, many municipalities in sub-Saharan Africa are beginning to consider the benefits of urban green infrastructure for improving the resilience and wellbeing of residents living in informal settlements. However, present governance systems are often ill-equipped to deliver the scale of planning needed. Integration of urban green infrastructure into local government mandates, spatial planning and targeted action plans remains limited, further inhibited by scarce empirical research on the topic in Africa. Taking Windhoek, Namibia, and specifically Moses ǁGaroëb, Samora Machel, and Tobias Hainyeko constituencies as a case study, we fitted key informant interview (n = 23), focus group (n = 20), and participant observation data into existing governance theory to investigate (a) benefits and trade-offs of present urban green infrastructure in Windhoek’s informal settlements; (b) urban green infrastructure governance in terms of institutional frameworks, actors and coalitions, resources, and processes; and (c) the key desirable pathways for future urban green infrastructure governance in informal settlements. To this end, we used five green infrastructure initiatives to dissect governance intricacies and found diverse opportunities for innovative governance mechanisms. The urgent need for climate resilience in Namibia offers a policy and practice window to adopt context-specific approaches for multifunctional urban green infrastructure. However, for these initiatives to succeed, collaborative governance platforms and clearly delineated mandates are necessary, with explicit integration of urban green infrastructure into strategies for in-situ informal settlements upgrading and green job growth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8937
Number of pages25
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2021


  • Green space
  • Inclusive city
  • Informality
  • Local stewardship
  • Participation
  • Peri-urban settlements
  • Policy instruments
  • Right to the city
  • Self-governance
  • Sub-Saharan Africa


Dive into the research topics of 'Governance of urban green infrastructure in informal settlements of Windhoek, Namibia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this