Lena Fält

Lena Fält


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Works at Department of Human Geography
Telephone 08-16 48 42
Visiting address Svante Arrhenius väg 8
Room X333
Postal address Kulturgeografiska institutionen 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am a PhD student at the Department of Human Geography. I am a member of the Stockholm Urban and Regional Research Environment (SURE) and the Urban Africa Group, both based at the department.


I am/have been teaching in the following courses:

  • Staden i världen (course coordinator 2013, 2014, 2016)
  • Motstånd och Kollektiv Organisering (course coordinator 2014, 2015)
  • Urbanization and Environment
  • Migration and Globala Rörelser

I am also supervising bachelor theses in Global Utveckling (global development).


My research investigates contemporary urban transformation in Ghana, with focus on how city ideals and urban planning practices impact on processes of inclusion and exclusion in urban space.

Empirically, I focus on three selected areas in Accra, Ghana, which illustrate different processes of urban transformation; 1) the forced eviction/redevelopment of the central water front area, 2) the gentrification of the inner suburb Osu, and 3) the planning and construction of the new satellite city Appolonia.

Research interests: City planning; urban (re)development; gentrification; urban informality; displacement; urban grassroots movements, urban everyday life, critical urban theory, governmentality 


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Lena Fält. Built Environment 44 (4), 438-460

    New cities are increasingly presented as a solution to contemporary challenges of rapidly urbanizing African cities. A growing body of research has, however, questioned the appropriateness of these megaprojects on the basis of their governance structures, underlying planning principles and target groups. Yet little is known about the local constellations of government that enable and/or hinder these megaprojects to materialize. Drawing on the notion of governmentality, this paper seeks to deepen our knowledge about how particular new cities in Africa are governed and the rationalities behind them. Through an in-depth case study of Appolonia City - a new private satellite city under construction outside Accra, Ghana - the paper demonstrates how this example of privatized urbanism has reached its recent stage of implementation through a speci fic constellation of government that includes state actors at all levels, traditional authorities and private developers. The engagement of these actors is based upon multiple rationalities, including an advanced liberal rationality that emphasizes the superiority of private-led urban development; spatial rationalities that seek to form 'world-class' environments and subjects through a strong emphasis on urban formality and ordered aesthetics; prospects of economic profit-making; and assumptions on how the 'mixed city' model can provide sustainable and inclusive urban milieus. These rationalities partly conflict and Appolonia risks becoming yet another elitist urban megaproject despite its stated aim of creating a sustainable and inclusive urban environment. There is thus an urgent need to (re-)politicize the urban question in Africa in order to enable future city developments that benefit the many and not the few.

  • 2018. Lena Fält. Globala flöden och lokala praktiker, 89-110
  • 2016. Lena Fält. Urban Forum 27 (4), 465-486

    Recent studies indicate that market-driven logics increasingly inform the governing of African cities. This paper explores this claim by analysing the spatial rationalities at work in the struggle over urban space in Accra, Ghana. Based on an in-depth case study of a state-led displacement of a marginalised informal settlement in central Accra that took place in September 2014, the paper demonstrates that the on-going urban transformation of this city must be understood as an outcome of multiple spatial rationalities rooted in the local urban history but also influenced by globally circulating urban ideals. While a market-driven rationality is clearly present in the state’s justification of the eviction, also ‘generative’ and ‘dispositional’ rationalities are used to legitimise this urban intervention. The paper further illustrates the conflicting rationalities between the state and the urban poor, emphasising how the former residents of the displaced settlement perceive of their former home as a place of opportunities in terms of livelihood strategies, sociability and affordable housing in contrast to the state’s problematisation of the area.

Show all publications by Lena Fält at Stockholm University

Last updated: May 10, 2019

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