What places? What ageing? Ageing-in-place in contemporary African urbanities

What places? What ageing? Ageing-in-place in contemporary African urbanities

Project status


Project Manager


Catharina Nord



Research in Spatial Planning

This project is the study of spatial aspects of older people’s ageing and everyday life in contemporary urbanities in Africa: Walvis Bay in Namibia and Jinja in Uganda.


The social and economic circumstances in which people in Africa age are subject to rapid changes. Urbanities are highly dynamic places of great complexity, interwoven with older people’s strategies and subjectivities. The urban could be an asset or an obstacle in these processes. A small but growing group of older people live permanently in urban areas. This study is carried out in a former apartheid township for black workers in which older people were previously not allowed to reside. The original housing units have now become ‘family houses’ in which multiple generations live under a single roof to be able to support themselves and provide welfare to those who need it. These housing units have been extensively reconstructed. Backyard shacks behind the units are a common housing alternative for younger older people of working age. Individuals often consider returning to their places of origin in rural areas after retirement. Residential care is seen as challenging family values related to the care of older people – traditionally, this responsibility should be assumed within the family – and it is not currently an accepted housing form.

The project is financed by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.



Nord, C & Ananias, J. (Accepted). Urbanized ageing and strategic welfare space in a Namibian former township. African Studies. 

Nord, C. 2021. Family houses–building an intergenerational space in post-apartheid Namibia. Canadian Journal of African Studies/Revue canadienne des études africaines. DOI:10.1080/00083968.2021.1938618

Nord, C. 2021. Institutional Traits in an African Residence for Older Adults: An Obstacle to Community Care?. Journal of Aging and Environment. DOI: 10.1080/26892618.2021.1987372

Nord, C. & Byerley, A. 2020. Translocal optimization: Assembling rural and urban spaces for later life in urban Namibia and Uganda. Journal of Southern African Studies, 46(1), 109-127.





5 million SEK

Contact Person


Catharina Nord



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