Expectations from the editors
This book will work as a cross-national comparative exercise, to be articulated by the editors, based on contributions from scholars and practitioners from different parts of the world. It will demonstrate the variety of roles taken by informal urbanisation processes in different socio-political contexts in relation to struggles for rights and democratisation. It will also show different local approaches and attitudes towards informal urbanisation and compare existing local planning tools that deal with it.
We have found contributors who are very familiar with a variety of cases. They are either currently living and working in case cities, or have previously published on informal urbanisation in their specific case studies. We have purposely invited authors from outside the Anglo-Saxon academic world to foster diversity of views and interpretations, despite a common analytical framework largely based on Anglo-Saxon literature. However, it goes without saying that authors from or working in the Anglo-Saxon world are also present in this book.
In this sense, we have looked for alternative views and interpretations that will challenge the existing literature. Female contributors were sought, in order to increase diversity. In short, we have given the opportunity to a group of vigorous writers from diverse backgrounds and different geographical locations to be heard.
Authors were asked to reflect on basic premises proposed by editors, building an explicit relationship between theories of rights and justice and informal urbanisation, while simultaneously keeping a critical instance towards these issues.
Each book chapter will consist of a clear introduction, a brief critical description of the case city, highlighting the elements listed in the research and sub-research questions, and a body of text that will critically answer some of the questions stated. Theories of rights and justice will permeate the texts, and there will be an explicit link between the analysis and the theoretical framework proposed in the form of sub-chapters or sections.
Selected authors were asked to contribute with a text of 5,000 words of length (excluding references and captions). These texts will:
- Explicitly cover a case study in which informal urbanisation plays a role in relation to the general process of urbanisation and struggles for rights. Narratives will be preferably structured around a case city
- Explicitly relate case studies to the theoretical framework proposed by the editors
- Tackle some of the research questions below:
- What are the main challenges influencing processes of urbanisation and development (drivers and hampers) in the case city?
- What is the proportion and significance of informal urbanisation in the case city? Is it a prevalent or marginal phenomenon? What is the housing demand? Is there a programme for social housing provision? How effective is it?
- How does the planning system of the case city deal (or not) with informal urbanisation? Are there special provisions to eradicate it, improve it, upgrade it? What is the general attitude towards informal urbanisation? And the attitude of the authorities?
- How do you situate the rights of informal dwellers in the framework of citizens’ rights of the case country and in relation to the rule of law? Do they have land property rights or any other kind of rights concerning their dwellings? What are rights of informal dwellers? What is their stand in society? Are there issues of religion, ethnicity, caste, social class, gender to be dealt with?
- Are dwellers subject to pressure by the public or the private sector? Are developers interested in (legally or illegally) acquiring their land?
- Are there articulated social movements that advance the interests of informal dwellers? Howe are they organised? Who backs them? Do they claim for positive or negative rights? Is there an articulated civil society backing the rights of informal dwellers?
- What are possible conclusions in relation to the state of affairs in the case city and theories of rights and justice? How fair/unfair is urban development in the case city and why?
- What is the general stand of dwellers in terms of their struggle for civil rights?
- What, in the authors’ opinion, should the attitude of authorities be? Do they suggest direction or models to be taken/followed? Are they optimistic/ pessimistic about prospects of spatial justice in case cities?