Informality and the Politics of Planning

Authored by: Ananya Roy

The Ashgate Research Companion to Planning Theory

Print publication date:  July  2010
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754672548
eBook ISBN: 9781315279251
Adobe ISBN: 9781315279244

10.4324/9781315279251.ch2

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Abstract

The twenty-first century will be an urban century. For the first time in human history more people will live in cities than in any other form of human settlement. Much of this urban growth and urbanization will take place in the cities of the global South. In these cities, significant proportions of urban citizens rely on informal work and informal settlements as means of survival, mobility, and accumulation. Yet, planning theory has been strikingly silent on such issues. It is as if the great urban revolution of modern history is a casual backdrop to the planning debates about communication and collaboration and even to the planning debates about knowledge and power. While much of the world is enmeshed in a complex urban reality, planning theorists continue to be barely interested in what Yiftachel (2006) calls ‘the transformation of space’. It is my contention that planning theorists have thus rendered themselves irrelevant to one of the most important processes of the fin-de-millénaire: the struggle for the city. Since economic globalization is closely linked to urbanization and urbanism, planning theorists have thus also rendered themselves irrelevant to the study and analysis of global economic change and international development.

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