The International Contemporary Urban Issues Conference

Informality: Rethinking the Urban
The International Contemporary Urban Issues Conference is aiming at fostering discussions of theory and research on urban issues by DAKAM (Eastern Mediterranean Academic Research Center). Focusing on a multidimensional urban phenomenon, this international conference aims to deepen the understanding of informality by opening it to discussion with contributions from various disciplines like architecture, urban planning, sociology, history, economy and anthropology.
Emergence of informality as a concept in scholarly discussions can be traced back to the 1970s when “the informal sector” was first used by ILO reports on employment and poverty. The results of the global economic restructuring -such as the flexibilization of production and employment relations, deterioration of collective responsibility and welfare functions of the state- damage the security of urban poor in terms of housing and working. Meanwhile, recent socio economic public policies seem to intensify the condition of informality. Now, it is widely accepted that informal way of living is a necessity for the urban poor as a survival strategy. Hence, informal work and housing constitute a significant proportion of urban economies and policies.
What is new in the neo-liberal age is the extending scope of informality. Today, the boundary between the formal and informal is blurred more than before since most urbanites, including the middle classes, experience both formal and informal encounters in their everyday life. Besides, even the urban rich contribute to informality by the development projects on the invaded peripheral land. Consequently, contemporary informality affects not just a marginal segment of the society but a majority of people living in urban space.
DAKAM’s CUI 2013 symposium offers a platform for specialists and young academics to interact and share knowledge with non-governmental organizations, businesses and policy makers, as well as fellow researchers. These academic activities serve to bring the gap between research and practice, expanding the opportunities for positive cross-sectoral collaborations in response to the challenging realities of cities in the 21st century.


Central Themes of the Conference
Informality at Home
Architecture of informality
Squatters / slums / shanties
Self-Help housing & upgrading
Gated communities
Laws and regulations of housing construction
Daily life in between formal and informal
Immigrants and refugees
Crime (association of crime with informality)
Urbanization and informality
Everyday resistance
Place politics
Survival strategies

Informality at Work
Informal economy
Service sector
Factors shaping informal economy
Economic restructuring and economic crisis
Immigration and informal labor
Sub-contracting (Multinational companies, public employment, etc.)
International division of labor
Globalization/localization effects on work
Underground business networks
Alternatives to public services
Street art / graffiti / musicians

Policy Matters
Citizenship / immigration / informality
Alternative ways of civic participation
Decision making at the local/national levels
National public policies’ strategies dealing with the informal
Legal and institutional framework
Informality and the ‘Right to the City’
Social Policies to fight/support the informal
Legalization / formalization
The policies, instruments and orientation of International Organizations like UN, WDB, ILO
Instruments of NGOs and opposition

Informality in Theory
The evolution of the concept in theory
Globalization/localization theories
Forms of Informality
“Culture of poverty”/ “myth of marginality”/ “quiet encroachment of the ordinary”/”mystery of capital”
Urban informality in popular culture


Prof. Dr.Hatice Kurtuluş
Assoc. Prof.Murat Cemal Yalçıntan
Assoc. Prof. Asuman Türkün
Assoc. Prof. E.Zeynep Güler (Academic Editor)
Assoc. Prof. Asu Aksoy
Assistant Prof. Erbatur Çavuşoğlu
Assistant Prof. Besime Şen
Assistant Prof. Yıldırım Şentürk
Erdem Yörük PhD.

[email protected]
0212 252 16 00 / 277
Meclis-i Mebusan Cad., Fındıklı, ISTANBUL, TR


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