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Overview

An examination of informal urban activities—including street vending, garage sales, and unpermitted housing—that explores their complexity and addresses related planning and regulatory issues.

Every day in American cities street vendors spread out their wares on sidewalks, food trucks serve lunch from the curb, and homeowners hold sales in their front yards—examples of the wide range of informal activities that take place largely beyond the reach of government regulation. This book examines the “informal revolution” in American urban life, exploring a proliferating phenomenon often associated with developing countries rather than industrialized ones and often dismissed by planners and policy makers as marginal or even criminal. The case studies and analysis in The Informal City challenge this narrow conception of informal urbanism.

The chapters look at informal urbanism across the country, empirically and theoretically, in cities that include Los Angeles, Sacramento, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Kansas City, Atlantic City, and New York City. They cover activities that range from unpermitted in-law apartments and ad hoc support for homeless citizens to urban agriculture, street vending and day labor. The contributors consider the nature and underlying logic of these activities, argue for a spatial understanding of informality and its varied settings, and discuss regulatory, planning, and community responses.

Contributors
Jacob Avery, Ginny Browne, Matt Covert, Margaret Crawford, Will Dominie, Renia Ehrenfeucht, Jeffrey Hou, Nabil Kamel, Gregg Kettles, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Kate Mayerson, Alfonso Morales, Vinit Mukhija, Michael Rios, Donald Shoup, Abel Valenzuela Jr. Mark Vallianatos, Peter M. Ward

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262525787
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 05/02/2014
Series: Urban and Industrial Environments
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 843,845
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Vinit Mukhija is Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA and the author of Squatters as Developers? Slum Redevelopment in Mumbai .

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris is Professor of Urban Planning and Associate Provost for Academic Planning at UCLA. She is the coauthor of Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation over Public Space (MIT Press) and other books. She is a leader of the Urban Humanities Initiative, a UCLA program sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Vinit Mukhija is Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Planning at UCLA and the author of Squatters as Developers? Slum Redevelopment in Mumbai .

Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris is Professor of Urban Planning and Associate Provost for Academic Planning at UCLA. She is the coauthor of Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation over Public Space (MIT Press) and other books. She is a leader of the Urban Humanities Initiative, a UCLA program sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Renia Ehrenfeucht is Associate Professor in the Department of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction Vinit Mukhija Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris 1

Part I Settings

1 The Garage Sale as Informal Economy and Transformative Urbanism Margaret Crawford 21

2 Outlaw In-Laws: Informal Second Units and the Stealth Reinvention of Single-Family Housing Vinit Mukhija 39

3 The Reproduction of Informality in Low-Income Self-Help Housing Communities Peter M. Ward 59

4 Making and Supporting Community Gardens as Informal Urban Landscapes Jeffrey Hou 79

5 "This Is My Front Yard!" Claims and Informal Property Rights on Sidewalks Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris Renia Ehrenfeucht 97

6 Learning from the Margin: Placemaking Tactics Nabil Kamel 119

7 Surviving in America's Playground: Informal Sustenance Strategies among the Chronically Unhoused Jacob Avery 137

Part II Responses

8 The Irreconcilable Tension between Dwelling in Public and the Regulatory State Renia Ehrenfeucht Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris 155

9 Learning from Informal Practices: Implications for Urban Design Michael Rios 173

10 Formalizing City Farms: Conflict and Conciliation Matt Covert Alfonso Morales 193

11 A More Delicious City: How to Legalize Street Food Mark Vallianatos 209

12 Crystals, Mud, and Space: Street Vending Informality Gregg Kettles 227

13 "Keep Your Wheels On": Mediating Informality in the Food Cart Industry Ginny Browne Will Dominie Kate Mayerson 243

14 Regulating Day Labor: Worker Centers and Organizing in the Informal Economy Abel Valenzuela Jr. 261

15 Informal Parking Markets: Turning Problems into Solutions Donald Shoup 277

Conclusion: Deepening the Understanding of Informal Urbanism Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris Vinit Mukhija 295

Contributors 305

Index 311

Series List

What People are Saying About This

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo

Covering the myriad manifestations of informal urbanism in US cities today, from garage sales to outlawed garage conversions, and spanning street vending, sidewalk life, day laborers, and community gardens, this valuable volume prompts us to think about how urban informality permeates life in cities. Neither romantic nor neoliberal, this important collection moves us toward recognition of creative urban life lived in the margins of regulations and offers concrete planning and policy suggestions for how to support it.

Mitchell Duneier

This distinguished collection is the new benchmark volume on informal urbanism. It provides a thorough and penetrating interpretation that challenges basic assumptions and will reorient scholarship for years to come.

From the Publisher

This distinguished collection is the new benchmark volume on informal urbanism. It provides a thorough and penetrating interpretation that challenges basic assumptions and will reorient scholarship for years to come.

Mitchell Duneier , Princeton University, author of Sidewalk

Covering the myriad manifestations of informal urbanism in US cities today, from garage sales to outlawed garage conversions, and spanning street vending, sidewalk life, day laborers, and community gardens, this valuable volume prompts us to think about how urban informality permeates life in cities. Neither romantic nor neoliberal, this important collection moves us toward recognition of creative urban life lived in the margins of regulations and offers concrete planning and policy suggestions for how to support it.

Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo , author of Paradise Transplanted: Migration and the Making of California Ga rdens

Through a global comparative analysis of the spatial origins and contributions of urban informal activities, this book challenges a fundamental bias in modernist notions of what constitutes a good city. A must-read for urban designers, policy planners, and critical urban theorists who dare to question conventional imagery of urbanism.

Bish Sanyal , Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning and Director of the Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies/Humphrey Fellows Program, MIT

Endorsement

Through a global comparative analysis of the spatial origins and contributions of urban informal activities, this book challenges a fundamental bias in modernist notions of what constitutes a good city. A must-read for urban designers, policy planners, and critical urban theorists who dare to question conventional imagery of urbanism.

Bish Sanyal, Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning and Director of the Special Program in Urban and Regional Studies/Humphrey Fellows Program, MIT

Bish Sanyal

Through a global comparative analysis of the spatial origins and contributions of urban informal activities, this book challenges a fundamental bias in modernist notions of what constitutes a good city. A must-read for urban designers, policy planners, and critical urban theorists who dare to question conventional imagery of urbanism.

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