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Title: The social network of urban agriculture : livelihood diversification as a system of provision in Port Harcourt City Nigeria
Author: Mpigi, Gbenekanu Ledornu
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 904X
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis explains how poor urban households in Port Harcourt City, Nigeria, engage with urban agricultural production practices in order to improve their conditions. I show that this engagement is socially mediated by a primary desire for households’ food security. To demonstrate how people negotiated and navigated urban agriculture processes, I examine three key decision-making points – firstly, what people do to start urban agriculture; secondly, if, and when, they diversify their engagement; and thirdly, if, and when, they cease engaging in urban agriculture. Counter-posing respondents in each of these three groups with a group of respondents that have never engaged in the urban agriculture, I demonstrate how the social relations of urban agriculture framework mediates these processes in different ways. I extend Meagher’s conceptualisation of sociality of informality that focuses on legacies, linkages and localities to analyse social relations in an urban environment when informality is unescapable by these poor urban households, by adding a further dimension of ‘land’. I elaborated this approach by introducing the social relations of land with an aspect of the sustainable livelihoods approach to name it the social relations of UA framework. Notably, this is its focus on the determinants of livelihood diversification. While ‘land’ (as space) is critical to any economic activity, it takes particular social forms in relation to urban agriculture through the qualities of the soil, aspect, proximity to water, markets, built environment as well as tenure. Through a quantitative survey with a representative sample I recruited respondents from 40 households categorised around the 3 decision-making points and a group that have never engaged in production phase of urban agriculture. I conducted an in-depth interview with the 40 respondents and elaborated their responses in 4 focus groups discussions corresponding to the four groups. Looking across the different engagements, I argue that gender as an identity (primarily in shaping access to land); birth right in securing indigeneity (and hence, through inheritance shaping access to land) and social networks in accessing resources, assets and markets are significant in understanding how people engage with urban agriculture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available