Urban Management in Post-Conflict Settings
: The Case of Baghdad, Iraq

  • Shaymaa Alkhalefy

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This study explores the change in urban management processes in Baghdad, Iraq, as an example of a metropolitan area in a developing country with a post-conflict setting. In this setting, the critical conditions of population growth and urbanisation, alongside deteriorating management tools, are leading to a shortage in housing supply and increasing the costs for buying or building new dwellings by low-mid income households. This leaves many citizens without affordable housing in times of severe crises and ongoing instability. There is evidence that the Iraqi citizens are developing their legally owned properties through increasing building density without following the relevant regulations, to accommodate their extended families in affordably generated multi-dwellings. This irregular form of housing development needs to be supported by statutory authorities; hence, this study offers a solution in how to best support such practices through adequate housing interventions and management processes. This study investigates how the devolution of authority, from centralised forms of government to the local and regional levels, can bring about a necessary change in the power relations between the key actors to enable a participatory implementation of housing development policies. The idea put forward is that advancing a bottom-up process of housing interventions would enable decentralised practices, in which there is a greater amount of coordinated action between state and society in mobilising resources and generally setting up the necessary provision of legal, financial and technical support.

    This research employs a qualitative multi-method methodology with a case study design to examine the collected data sets incorporating the change in urban management to approach development and improve housing affordability in Baghdad. The secondary data collection involves analysis of key official documents. Purposive, opportunistic and snowball sampling methods are used for collecting the primary data through semi-structured interviews with: the key officials at multi-tiers of government and homeowners in four different neighbourhoods. An inductive approach has been used for analysing the content and generating the relevant themes.

    The findings show that activating society-driven approaches to development in needs-based housing to accommodate the growing population, alongside state-society collaboration within regulating interventions can improve housing affordability; it also increases housing assets and land-use and reduces the urban sprawl in a post-conflict setting. More specifically, the enablement of homeowners, by representatives of authorities in local governments, to become in effect private developers of properties using irregular rather than just formal or informal means can create: satisfactory solutions in affordable building of houses and shared responsibility in implementation of housing policies, thus, the associative bottom-up processes in urban management can approach development and tackle the challenges of survival in post-conflict settings despite prolonged situations of instability.
    Date of AwardOct 2020
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SponsorsMinistry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
    SupervisorPoorang Piroozfar (Supervisor), Andrew Church (Supervisor) & Alan Tomlinson (Supervisor)

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