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Who Governs the ‘Ungovernable’? Examining Governing Relations in Urban Informality
Synopsis: The thesis examines an interface that emerges between formal (state-backed) systems and informal mechanisms in the context of a vulnerable condition of thousands of street vendors in Metro Manila’s Baclaran district. Analyzing this interface is critical for urban planners and policy-makers who are expected to manage and guide the collective use of space. The thesis proceeds by situating the in/formal interface in broader and historical socio-political relations to contextualize contemporary activities, issues, and perspectives. It employs a ‘post-dualist’ prism to avoid the pitfalls associated with dichotomous (formal versus informal) approaches to dealing with urban informality. Using rigorous qualitative research methods, the thesis generates rich empirical data that is analyzed in terms of five governance dimensions: players, policies, practices, governing relations, and planning implications. The analysis reveals the embeddedness of state (formal) policies and practices in informal vending spaces and relates this to continuing impoverishment and precarity of street vendors. The thesis ends with recommendations (for planners and other key stakeholders), which are framed around the notion of ‘inclusive urban governance’ as an approach to complex informal economic activities in many global South cities.
- Dr Sonia Roitman (UQ)
- Dr Iderlina Mateo-Babiano (UM)
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