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Informality as evidence: tracing daily tactics of appropriation in urban space

Posted on 29-05-2023

The rising interest in evidence-based practices has opened up a pool of tools and methods that transform design and planning processes and foster informed decision-making. While digital tools, big data and simulations provide codified evidence imperative for urban research, they significantly focus on the ‘big picture’ which often neglects the gaps between formal planning and everyday life at a local level.

By reflecting upon heterogeneous socio-spatial arrangements produced through daily appropriation tactics, informality is framed as evidence for planning and design. The focus will be on underrepresented groups that reclaim their participation through the configuration of everyday spaces. Analysing instances of urban informality as alternatives to formal processes of urban development, reveals traces of negotiation, claims to space, exclusion, but also collaboration and sharing.

Through a collaborative ethnographic visual essay that focuses on the European South, we seek to recognise informality as a legitimate source of knowledge in evidence-based design.


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