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Thursday, April 9 • 1:30pm - 2:55pm
TH1.30.02 Informal Urbanism in North America (PART 2, Proposal for a two-panel session)

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Informality in the Global North is receiving increasing attention. Urban informality has a long, forgotten history in these countries, including street vending and urban homesteading in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The resurgence of informal urbanism reflects the increasing precariousness of everyday life. Economic instability and social inequality fueled migration, day laboring, and sidewalk vending. Falling wages, economic restructuring, and rising living costs increased contingent work, homelessness, and informal housing practices. Municipal financial distress also encouraged the devolution of collective governance. In some circumstances, informality carries a countercultural cache as when taco trucks, pop-up beer gardens, and guerilla gardening become urban marketing tools. In all cases, informality has stimulated local re-regulation as cities respond to simultaneous demands to stop informal activity and to permit food trucks, vacation rentals and other informal practices. This organized, two-panel session explores the informal landscapes emerging in U.S., Canadian, and German cities. The first panel explains key characteristics of informal urbanism. What is it? Who does it? Where and how does informality thrive, and why? This panel explores these questions using in-depth studies of housing, food vending, and other informal practices in Chicago, New Orleans, Phoenix, Calgary, and Berlin. The second panel explores how informal practices interact with collective organizing and re-regulation. How do regulatory responses alter informal practices, and how does collective action surrounding informality shape new patterns of opportunity and inequality? Panel participants explore these questions using studies of urban policy reforms in New Orleans, Detroit, New York, Portland, and Chicago by policy makers who are attempting to make jurisdictional space for some informal practices within “mainstream” governance structures.

From Boardrooms to Goat Sheds: Self-Provisioning in Detroit
Kimberley Kinder, University of Michigan

“This is a lot like the Bronx, isn’t it?”: Informality in New York City
Evan Casper-Futterman, Rutgers University

Rethinking New Orleans a Decade after Katrina: Insurgent Planning in the Post-Disaster City
Jason Neville, Tulane University; Clara Irazábal, Columbia University

avatar for Evan Casper-Futterman

Evan Casper-Futterman

Rutgers University

Jason Neville

Tulane University


Thursday April 9, 2015 1:30pm - 2:55pm EDT
Gusman (lobby level)