The neighbourhood of Cabucu, in the outer peripheries of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Roberto Rocco.

The neighbourhood of Cabucu, in the outer peripheries of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo by Roberto Rocco.

A paper written by alumnus Jan Ballegoijen (presently at Crimson Rotterdam) and Roberto Rocco on issues of informal urbanisation has been published by Third World Quarterly.

Abstract:

This paper discusses how urban informality in the developing world has been understood in the West, and how it has been incorporated in the discourse of urban architects and planners in the developed world. It proposes a genealogy of this understanding through the identification of discourses with major ideological currents. It explains the evolution of the relationship between the understanding of urban informality and anarchism; the empowerment of the urban poor and finally the role of this understanding as a neoliberal discourse against state intervention. It finds that, although the incorporation of urban informality in urban architectural discourses is presented as a relative novelty, it is in reality at least 60 years old, dating from John Turner’s writings about the barriadas of Lima. From a progressive and empowering understanding of how the grassroots are able to take their lives into their own hands, it has become a tool for neoliberal discourses defending the dismissal of the state as a valid articulator of urban development.

You can find the paper HERE.

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