Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Queering Housing Policy: Questioning Urban Planning Assumptions in Namibian Cities

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Abstract:  Heteronormative models of the home have permeated housing policies for decades, only adding to economic and spatial inequalities in a landscape of housing injustices. Half of the urban population in Namibia lives in precarious housing conditions. Cities like Windhoek and Walvis Bay are among the most unequal in the world. Such inequalities translate into significant gaps in housing quality, security, and service provision. These inequalities are acutely felt by LGBTIQ+ populations that already face other forms of exclusion from economic and social life and fundamental human rights. A new National Housing Policy—emphasizing the right to housing—is about to be adopted in Namibia, but would it address the concerns of queer populations? This article asks what it means to engage with Namibia’s new National Housing Policy through the lens of queer decolonial thought. It presents an exploratory study of the questions emerging at the margins of the discussion on the National Housing Policy. The objective was to develop an exploratory research agenda for a queer decolonial perspective on housing in Namibia. In the context of enormous housing shortages, a queer decolonial perspective emphasizes radical inclusion as a principle for housing provision. The exploration of shared queer experiences in accessing housing suggests that the themes of belonging, identity, and safety may support the development of such an agenda. Queer decolonial thought has thus three implications for an agenda of research on housing in Namibia. First, it calls for understanding what community and belonging mean for LGBTIQ+ people. Second, queer decolonial thought poses questions about citizenship, particularly given the shift to a view of the state as creating housing opportunities (through land rights and basic services) and support mechanisms for incremental housing. Queer decolonial thought calls for identifying the multiple ways the state misrecognizes individuals who do not conform to prescribed identities and sexual orientations. Third, queer decolonial thought invites reflection on the constitution of safe spaces in aggressive urban environments and the multiple layers of perceived safety constructed through diverse institutions and public spaces.

Keywords:  coloniality; housing; LGBTIQ+; Namibia; queer decolonial thought; queer housing

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v8i2.6592


© Guillermo Delgado, Vanesa Castán Broto, Takudzwa Mukesi. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.