Call for papers
12th International Conference on Urban History
September 3, 2014 – September 6, 2014, Lisbon, Portugal
Deadline : 15 October 2013
M34. The Administration of «Informal» Neighbourhoods in the World (19th-21st Centuries)
While it is difficult to support the existence of a ‘spontaneous’ urbanization, since it always involves at least micro-regulations among different agents, the category of ‘informal city’ remains very common to describe the built-up spaces – often self-built – on the fringe of legality. Nevetheless, the representation of these neighbourhoods as urban outgrowths showing an impotence of the public authorities is largely falsified by the empirical studies.
Studies, in fact, show that these spaces don’t escape public control. The informal neighbourhoods have a structure that reflects the logics of their production. Among these, are the unwritten rules of their de facto government by the public authorities. The operation of the ‘informal city’ cannot be considered as separate from the official city. The two cities are strictly intertwined and articulated both in a social-economic dimension and in a political one. The ‘informal’ neighbourhoods cannot be considered as unwanted outgrowths, or planning failures, of which they are often the products. Their (partial) illegality isn’t a marginal characteristic, but the key of their functioning. Actually, the irregularity of these neighbourhoods is a space where an entanglement of particular and collective interests takes roots. This combination contributes to make the ‘informal’ status permanent. The ‘informal’ is often a system of government.
More precisely, in this session we want to analyze how the public atuhorities rule the neighbourhoods officially identified as informal. In particular, we would like to examine the following issues. How do the public agents put in place the question of the informal city? What tools do they use to describe, measure and provide documentary evidence of it? What professional expertise is involved to produce this knowlodge? What institutional and juridical frameworks are created to rule these neighbourhoods? What is the process of their formation? How are they put into operation? How do the inhabitants, the owners and the other agents who are involved in the production of the informal city use them? Who are the other protagonists (associations, religious institutions, activists) who intervene in the relationship between administration and individuals? How and when do these ruling patterns fall into a crisis or why do they provoke, in some cases, the development of particular social movements? Finally how are the ruling practices of these spaces connected to the policies of regularization? What are the political goals of the regularization policies? What are the factors that could explain the changes or the conservation of the irregular situations?
Keywords: Informal Urbanization; Law; Urban Administration; Urban Government
Period: 19th Century - 20th Century
Type: Main Session
Charlotte Vorms (France) - Université de Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbone
Rafael Soares Gonçalves (Brasil) - Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro
Francesco Bartolini (Italy) - University of Macerata
Université Paris 1 - Panthéon-Sorbonne
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