- Working with Informality: Increasing resilience in cities of the Global South    click here to open paper content118 kb
by    Revell, Kristy | kristy.revell.09@ucl.ac.uk   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper proposes that urban informality be used as a tool for increasing resilience and adaptability in cities; where urbanism is seen as an evolving and organic process that allows cities to be modelled as metabolising entities.
There is a need to future-proof our cities, to make them resilient. Cities need to be planned in a way that allows them to be flexible, nimble and adaptable so that they can adjust quickly in response to unknown difficulties of the future.

Informality within cities of the global south is growing at a rapid rate but exclusion of the informal sector from planning within cities continues, even though this is arguably an outdated and futile approach. Informality could instead be view as an organic process that evolves and changes. The rate of this change could be described in terms of the urban metabolic rate.

The concept of informality, which has a very fast metabolism, is presented as a tool to increase urban metabolism and in turn urban resilience. The concept is explored in an effort to establish what can be learnt from informality and whether existing knowledge of informality can be utilised to give cities of the global south greater resilience and adaptability, in a way that enables citizens to thrive.

The case of Lagos with its already large and expanding informal sector is presented.

Informality can be socially, environmentally and economically efficient, it can also be very harmful and there are many challenges and contradictions that arise from a planning paradigm that encourages informality. Though, this concept presents a new framework through which to view the challenges of urbanism in the global south and this divergence from the standard approach does offer a new perspective that reframes the challenges of urbanisation so that it can be analysed from a new direction. This paper explores the opportunities that this new direction could offer.

The most obvious challenge of this paradigm is its reconciliation with the sustainability and brown agendas.
cities, resilience, sustainability, Lagos, urban metabolism, informality
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