Lessons of Informality
Publisher: Birkhauser Editors: Felix Heisel, Bisrat Kifle ISBN: 9783035606690 Format: Hardcover, 224pp, 245x175mm
Informal settlements made up of corrugated iron shacks and other materials are a ubiquitous feature in the megacities of Africa, Asia and Latin America. In response to the enormous influx of migrants from the countryside, informal cities have experienced a phenomenal growth. The unregistered economic activities associated with them proliferate in a similar way and basic urban services are increasingly provided informally. Examples of these economic phenomena are microloans, bottom-up insurance or professions such as the ‘Kure-Yalew’ (refuse collector), who acts as an ‘urban miner’ and thus contributes a valuable service to the community by recycling materials. While rightly criticised for their lack of hygiene and for their low-level living conditions, then, these shelters nevertheless provide planning strategies and possibly even a roadmap to a resilient city in an emerging territory.