The Porous Infrastructures of Somali Malls in Cape Town

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter takes as its subject a series of contingent mixed-use urban markets that have been established in Cape Town, South Africa by migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from various parts of the African continent. Known colloquially as 'Somali malls', these markets typically occupy once-vacant or underused office blocks, occupying them with multiple small shops, services and residences. Read through the lens of infrastructure, these spaces of flows tie Somali diasporic communities into transnational networks of sociality and exchange.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Infrastructure Design
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Perspectives from Architectural History
EditorsJoseph Heathcott
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781003093756
ISBN (Print)9780367554910, 9781032188393
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • infrastructure
  • architectural history
  • architecture
  • informality


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