International Development Planning Review

Re-viewing informality: perspectives from urban Asia

International Development Planning Review (2012), 34, (4), 339–348.

Abstract

While the importance of the informal sector and informality in processes of urbanisation is increasingly widely acknowledged across development studies, architecture, planning and urban studies more broadly, there is considerable disagreement on how they should be defined and approached as objects of study. The three papers in this themed section all seek to re-view - or to look anew at - diverse aspects of urban informality in Asia. What the papers assembled here have in common is an orientation towards extending ways of thinking about urban informality on the basis of empirical research in Asia. The aim of the themed section as a whole is not one of proffering some (singular) new way of seeing or doing urban informality, nor is it to posit a specifically Asian take on informality. Rather, the contributions embrace both the conceptual diversity of work on informality and the empirical diversity of ‘informal’ activities and places in Asia. Asian empirical cases are thus treated as resources for theoretical insights that are not regionally-delimited, yet without implying universal generalization or meta-theorisation.

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ROY, A. (2005), 'Urban informality: towards an epistemology of planning', Journal of the American Planning Association, 71, 147-58. 'Urban informality: towards an epistemology of planning' Journal of the American Planning Association 71 147 58 Google Scholar

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SHARMA, K. (2003), Rediscovering Dharavi, Camberwell, Penguin Books Australia Ltd. Rediscovering Dharavi Google Scholar

SETHURAMAN, S. V. (1981), The Urban Informal Sector in Developing Countries, ILO, Geneva. The Urban Informal Sector in Developing Countries Google Scholar

SWANSON, K. (2007), 'Revanchist urbanism heads south: the regulation of indigenous beggars and street vendors in Ecuador', Antipode, 39, 708-28. 'Revanchist urbanism heads south: the regulation of indigenous beggars and street vendors in Ecuador' Antipode 39 708 28 Google Scholar

UN HABITAT (2010), The State of Asian Cities 2010/11, Fukuoka, United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Google Scholar

WALSH, J. and MANEEPONG, C. (2012), 'After the 1997 financial crisis: the behaviour and implications of a new cohort of street vendors', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 33, 255-69. 'After the 1997 financial crisis: the behaviour and implications of a new cohort of street vendors' Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 33 255 69 Google Scholar

WATSON, V. (2009), 'Seeing from the south: refocusing urban planning on the globe's central urban issues', Urban Studies, 46, 2259-75. 'Seeing from the south: refocusing urban planning on the globe's central urban issues' Urban Studies 46 2259 75 Google Scholar

YEO, S., LIMIN, H. and KIANG, H. C. (2012), 'Urban informality and everyday (night)life: a field study in Singapore', International Development Planning Review, 34, 369-90. 'Urban informality and everyday (night)life: a field study in Singapore' International Development Planning Review 34 369 90 Google Scholar

AGUIAR, J. C. G. (2012), 'Cities on edge: smuggling and neoliberal policies at the Iguazú Triangle', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 33, 171-83. 'Cities on edge: smuggling and neoliberal policies at the Iguazú Triangle' Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 33 171 83 Google Scholar

APPADURAI, A. (2004), 'The capacity to aspire: culture and the terms of recognition', in Vijayendra Rao and Michael Walton (eds), Culture and Public Action, Stanford, MA, Stanford University Press, 59-84. Culture and Public Action 59 84 Google Scholar

ARABINDOO, P. (2011), 'Rhetoric of the "slum": rethinking urban poverty', City, 15, 636-46. 'Rhetoric of the "slum": rethinking urban poverty' City 15 636 46 Google Scholar

BRANSFORD, S. (2009), 'Tarp nation: squatter villages arise from the ashes of the West's booms and busts', High County News, 16 March 2009. 'Tarp nation: squatter villages arise from the ashes of the West's booms and busts' High County News Google Scholar

BROMLEY, R. (1978), 'The informal sector: why is it worth discussing?', World Development, 6, 1033-39. 'The informal sector: why is it worth discussing?' World Development 6 1033 39 Google Scholar

BUNNELL, T. (2004), Malaysia, Modernity and the Multimedia Super Corridor: A Critical Geography of Intelligent Landscapes, London, Routledge Curzon. Malaysia, Modernity and the Multimedia Super Corridor: A Critical Geography of Intelligent Landscapes Google Scholar

BUNNELL, T. and MARINGANTI, A. (2010), 'Practising urban regional research beyond metrocentricity', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 34, 415-20. 'Practising urban regional research beyond metrocentricity' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 34 415 20 Google Scholar

BUNNELL, T., GOH, D. P. S., LAI, C. K. and POW, C. P. (2012), 'Global urban frontiers? Asian cities in theory, practice and imagination', Urban Studies, 49, in press. 'Global urban frontiers? Asian cities in theory, practice and imagination' Urban Studies 49 Google Scholar

CHANDOLA, T. (2012), 'Listening into others: moralising the soundscapes in Delhi', International Development Planning Review, 34, 391-408. 'Listening into others: moralising the soundscapes in Delhi' International Development Planning Review 34 391 408 Google Scholar

DANIELS, P. W. (2004), 'Urban challenges: the formal and informal economics in mega-cities', Cities, 21, 501-11. 'Urban challenges: the formal and informal economics in mega-cities' Cities 21 501 11 Google Scholar

DAVIS, M. (2006), Planet of Slums, London, Verso. Planet of Slums Google Scholar

DE SOTO, H. (2000), The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, New York, NY, Basic Books. The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else Google Scholar

DONOVAN, M. G. (2008), 'Informal cities and the contestation of public space: the case of Bogotá's street vendors 1988-2003', Urban Studies, 45, 29-51. 'Informal cities and the contestation of public space: the case of Bogotá's street vendors 1988-2003' Urban Studies 45 29 51 Google Scholar

DOVEY, K. (2012), 'Informal urbanism and complex adaptive assemblage', International Development Planning Review, 34, 349-68. 'Informal urbanism and complex adaptive assemblage' International Development Planning Review 34 349 68 Google Scholar

GHERTNER, A. (2011), 'Rule by aesthetics: world-class city making in Delhi', in A. Roy and A. Ong (eds), Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global, Chichester, Blackwell, 279-307. Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global 279 307 Google Scholar

HAE, L. (2011), 'Dilemmas of the nightlife fix: post-industrialization and the gentrification of nightlife in New York City', Urban Studies, 48, 3449-3465. 'Dilemmas of the nightlife fix: post-industrialization and the gentrification of nightlife in New York City' Urban Studies 48 3449 3465 Google Scholar

HART, K. (1973), 'Informal income opportunities and urban employment in Ghana', Modern African Studies, 11, 61-89. 'Informal income opportunities and urban employment in Ghana' Modern African Studies 11 61 89 Google Scholar

HOLLANDS, R. and CHATTERTON, P. (2003), 'Producing nightlife in the new urban entertainment economy: corporatization, branding and market segmentation', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 27, 361-85. 'Producing nightlife in the new urban entertainment economy: corporatization, branding and market segmentation' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 27 361 85 Google Scholar

HOLSTON, J. (2008), Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press. Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

LEE, K. Y. (2000), From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, 1965-2000, New York, NY, Harper Collins. From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, 1965-2000 Google Scholar

MCFARLANE, C. (2009), 'Translocal assemblages: space, power and social movements', Geoforum, 40, 561-67. 'Translocal assemblages: space, power and social movements' Geoforum 40 561 67 Google Scholar

MCFARLANE, C. (2011), Learning the City: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage, Chichester, John Wiley and Sons. Learning the City: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage Google Scholar

PORTES, A., CASTELLS, M. and BENTON, L. (eds) (1989), The Informal Economy: Studies in Advanced and Less Developed Countries, Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University Press. The Informal Economy: Studies in Advanced and Less Developed Countries Google Scholar

PORTER, L. (2011), 'Informality, the commons and the paradoxes for planning: concepts and debates for informality and planning', Planning Theory & Practice, 12, 115-53. 'Informality, the commons and the paradoxes for planning: concepts and debates for informality and planning' Planning Theory & Practice 12 115 53 Google Scholar

ROBINSON, J. (2006), Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development, Abingdon, Routledge. Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development Google Scholar

ROY, A. (2005), 'Urban informality: towards an epistemology of planning', Journal of the American Planning Association, 71, 147-58. 'Urban informality: towards an epistemology of planning' Journal of the American Planning Association 71 147 58 Google Scholar

ROY, A. (2009a), 'Why India cannot plan its cities: informality, insurgence and idiom of urbanization', Planning Theory, 8, 76-87. 'Why India cannot plan its cities: informality, insurgence and idiom of urbanization' Planning Theory 8 76 87 Google Scholar

ROY, A. (2009b), 'The 21st-century metropolis: new geographies of theory', Regional Studies, 43, 819-30. 'The 21st-century metropolis: new geographies of theory' Regional Studies 43 819 30 Google Scholar

ROY, A. and ALSAYYAD, N. (eds) (2004), Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, South Asia and Latin America, Lanham, MD, Lexington Books. Urban Informality: Transnational Perspectives from the Middle East, South Asia and Latin America Google Scholar

SCOTT, J. C. (1998), Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed, New Haven and London, Yale University Press. Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition have Failed Google Scholar

SHARMA, K. (2003), Rediscovering Dharavi, Camberwell, Penguin Books Australia Ltd. Rediscovering Dharavi Google Scholar

SETHURAMAN, S. V. (1981), The Urban Informal Sector in Developing Countries, ILO, Geneva. The Urban Informal Sector in Developing Countries Google Scholar

SWANSON, K. (2007), 'Revanchist urbanism heads south: the regulation of indigenous beggars and street vendors in Ecuador', Antipode, 39, 708-28. 'Revanchist urbanism heads south: the regulation of indigenous beggars and street vendors in Ecuador' Antipode 39 708 28 Google Scholar

UN HABITAT (2010), The State of Asian Cities 2010/11, Fukuoka, United Nations Human Settlements Programme. Google Scholar

WALSH, J. and MANEEPONG, C. (2012), 'After the 1997 financial crisis: the behaviour and implications of a new cohort of street vendors', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 33, 255-69. 'After the 1997 financial crisis: the behaviour and implications of a new cohort of street vendors' Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 33 255 69 Google Scholar

WATSON, V. (2009), 'Seeing from the south: refocusing urban planning on the globe's central urban issues', Urban Studies, 46, 2259-75. 'Seeing from the south: refocusing urban planning on the globe's central urban issues' Urban Studies 46 2259 75 Google Scholar

YEO, S., LIMIN, H. and KIANG, H. C. (2012), 'Urban informality and everyday (night)life: a field study in Singapore', International Development Planning Review, 34, 369-90. 'Urban informality and everyday (night)life: a field study in Singapore' International Development Planning Review 34 369 90 Google Scholar

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Author details

Bunnell, Tim

Harris, Andrew

Bunnell, Tim

Harris, Andrew