Urban Informalities : Reflections on the Formal and Informal book cover
1st Edition

Urban Informalities
Reflections on the Formal and Informal

ISBN 9781138274730
Published November 28, 2016 by Routledge
216 Pages

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Book Description

Bringing together an interdisciplinary and international group of researchers working on a wide variety of cities throughout Asia, Latin America and Europe, this book addresses, rethinks and, in some cases, abandons the notions of formal and informal urbanism. This collection critically interrogates both the ways in which 'informal' and 'formal' are put to work in the governing and politicisation of cities, and their conceptual strengths and weaknesses. It does so by focusing on a wide variety of topics, from specific forms of housing and labour often traditionally linked to the formal/informal divide, to urban political negotiations, cultural practices, and ways of being in the city. The book takes stock of and reflects on how contemporary urban informality/formality relations are being produced and are/might be understood, and puts forward an enlarged and comprehensive understanding of urban informality.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: the informal-formal divide in context, Colin McFarlane and Michael Waibel; Juggling with formality and informality in housing: some lessons from the new South Africa, Astrid Ley; Urban informality reconsidered in a neo-liberal context: Gecekondu, identity, poverty and Islamic philanthropism in Turkey, Neslihan Demirtas-Milz; 'Informal moral economies' and urban governance in India, Ajay Gandhi; Bajji on the beach: middle-class food practices in Chennai's New Beach, Pushpa Arabindoo; Informality as a strategy: street traders in Hanoi facing constant insecurity, Sandra Kurfürst; Informality as borrowed security: contested food markets in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Marcus Keck; Hip-hop and sociality in a Brazilian favela, Rita de Cácia Oenning da Silva and Kurt Shaw; The mode of informal urbanisation: reconciling social and statutory regulation in urban land management, Volker Kreibich; Conceptualising informality: some thoughts on the way towards generalisation, Uwe Altrock; Index.

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Colin McFarlane, Department of Geography, Durham University, UK and Michael Waibel, Department of Geography, Hamburg University, Germany


'Providing vivid and colourful insight, this volume of interdisciplinary research on the ambiguous realities of urban informality discusses and questions the very notion of the formal-informal divide ... the richness of this book lies in its drawing together of an international group of researchers from a variety of disciplines working on quite distinct notions of urban (in-)formalities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe.' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 'Urban Informalities will be of interest to anyone willing to learn more about this growing debate, and it provides many informative, articulated and stimulating contributions on the topic'. Urban Geography Research Group