Bridging Weak Links of Solid Waste Management in Informal Settlements
Journal article, 2017

Many cities in the global South suffer from vast inadequacies and deficiencies in their solid waste management. In the city of Kisumu in Kenya, waste management is frag- mented and insufficient with most household waste remaining uncollected. Solid waste enters and leaves public space through an intricate web of connected, mostly informal, actions. This article scrutinizes waste management of informal settlements, based on the case of Kisumu, to identify weak links in waste manage- ment chains and find neighborhood responses to bridge these gaps. Systems theory and action net theory support our analysis to understand the actions, actors, and processes associated with waste and its management. We use qualitative data from fieldwork and hands on engagement in waste management in Kisumu. Our main conclusion is that new waste initiatives should build on existing waste management practices already being performed within informal settlements by waste scavengers, waste pickers, waste entrepreneurs, and community-based organizations.


system dynamics


action net

solid waste management

household waste

informal settlement


Jutta Gutberlet

University of Victoria

Jaan-Henrik Kain

Chalmers, Architecture

Belinda Nyakinya

Tongji University

Michael Oloko

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science & Technology

Patrik Zapata

University of Gothenburg

María José Zapata Campos

University of Gothenburg

Journal of Environment and Development

1070-4965 (ISSN)

Vol. 26 1 106-131

Subject Categories

Architectural Engineering

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Other Civil Engineering

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)



More information

Latest update

9/6/2018 1