Living in the Informal City

Over the next 30 years virtually all urban population growth will take place in the developing world.

A partnership between Next City and Forum for the Future, Informal City Dialogues homes in six cities: Accra, Bangkok, Chennai, Lima, Manila and Nairobi. The Rockefeller Foundation‘s Informal City Dialogues:

“These are places of extraordinary energy. The informal realms, from single-chair barbershops to nine-passenger vans to sprawling settlements, are propelling the explosive growth of the urban Global South. They are the neighborhoods, economies and systems that exist beyond the reach of government: the slums, black-market industries and undocumented businesses that fuel these cities’ growth. They’re split off from the formal city, and often neglected or harassed by local authorities.

In 2013, Next City will tell these people’s stories through our online hub. Forum for the Future will host workshops in each city, while Next City’s bloggers report from the street, talking to the people who participate in this remarkable urban dynamic on a daily basis. Their everyday lives tell the story of the informal city, and are the primary sources for what this project hopes to achieve: a more inclusive conversation around urban informality, and how it can be cultivated and harnessed for the benefit of all.”

CHENNAI: Why Chennai’s Vendors Prefer the Sidewalk to the Mall

MANILA: Between Typhoons and Relocations, a Life Defined By Outside Forces

BANGKOK: The Middle-Class Vendors Shaking Up Bangkok’s Street Trade

Image credit: by lecercle at