Developmental spaces? Developmental Psychology and urban geographies of youth in sub-Saharan Africa

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While urban geographies play a critical role in shaping youth development, existing literature has focused primarily on the ways in which youth use, navigate and shape cities. This has overlooked the depth and complexity of Africa’s urban youth crisis. This paper introduces a new analytic framework, based on principles of Developmental Psychology, outlining four critical psychosocial processes of building foundations, building blocks, building support structures and building aspirations that young people must draw upon as navigate their futures. It then explores the ways in which the city and its economic, social and political landscapes have undermined these across the African continent. Cities shapes poverty and hardship, but also transform social norms and practices in ways that constrain, undermine or erode these developmental processes. Where social support and socioeconomic status cannot protect young people in tough economic contexts, city life is detrimental to young people’s psychosocial wellbeing, development and long-term futures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0
Pages (from-to)0
JournalChildren's Geographies
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2020

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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