The Informal Economy in Cities of the Global South

2017. In Gautam Bhan, Smita Srinivas, Vanessa Watson (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Planning in the Global South. London: Routledge.

This chapter argues the importance of understanding the informal economy from an urban and spatial planning perspective, as planning regulations and controls in many cities of the global South are a major factor constraining and marginalising the informal economy. It defines urban planning as the discipline and profession concerned with the collective, or societal, effort to re-imagine towns, cities and regions and to translate the result into priorities for area investment, strategic infrastructure investment, conservation and mitigation measures and principles of land and space use regulation. The chapter examines the statistical evidence on the size and nature of informal work, as well as major factors that impact on its growth and performance, such as global economic shifts. It also explores the implications for planning of recognising informal work in both the homes and public spaces of cities, and the fundamental revision of planning concepts that this would require.

Caroline Skinner, Vanessa Watson