The Chair of Spatial Planning has promoted a Round Table on the topic “The Political Meaning of Informal Urbanisation”. This is a project being carried forward by Roberto Rocco (Assistant Professor) and Jan van Ballegooijen (PhD candidate, researcher), which will result in book titled “The Routledge Handbook on Informal Urbanisation”, to be published by Routledge Publishing in 2016.

The round table had around 18 participants and issues concerning the definition of informality and the role of governments steering urban development were discussed.

In fact, the role of governments is a central issue in the discussion, as governments are often unable and/or unwilling to provide housing to the urban poor. This produces an impossible paradox, in which citizens must recur to self-help to access housing, which is often of very poor quality and where their safety and health are not catered for.

Another important issue is the rule of law. Since most informal settlements are to varying degrees also “illegal”, this presents numerous challenges to governments and policy makers. On one had, informal settlers are citizens who are somehow prevented from accessing the formal housing market. They have rights and they must be allowed to help themselves in contexts of weak institutional capacity and deprivation. On the other hand, the rule of law is being broken and solutions must be found to bring citizens back into the protection of the law.

Participants of the round table included Dorina Pojani and Wolfgang Scholz, who are authors in the book.

The complete overview of the project can be found online HERE.



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