Digital Trash turned into Cash

Lima Street performers Photo credit: Manuel Vigo

Informal City Dialogues is engaging six cities around the world in conversations to imagine a more inclusive and resilient future. Here's a round-up of this week's highlights:

Gridlock Creates a Captive audience for Lima’s Street Performers by Manuel Vigo

Manuel Vigo describes the circus of activity that flocks to the streets during rush hour in Lima, exploring the challenges and opportunities of street performers who compete for and secure the bulk of their income performing in the middle of traffic jams around the city.

A young performer fits multiple acts into the space of one red light. Video by Bahador Alast /Next City

Jolly Jeeps Transform a Food Desert Into Snack-Attack Heaven by Purple Romero

Jolly Jeeps –Metro Manila’s version of food trucks –are an intergenerational business and have been around for decades even though city governments have been trying to get rid of them.  They are popular with officer workers in the central business districts like Makati and Ortigas, so popular that lately the cities have had to rethink their bans.  “Instead, jolly jeeps in Makati became licensed, regulated and subject to inspections, and now operate in the gray area between formal and informal. They’ve also, by law, become stationary kiosks – no more following the crowd.” Purple Romero profiles Joselito Bartolome who has been managing his jolly jeep for eight years. It’s paid for his son’s college tuition. He has two more kids to send to school, the jeep is their college fund.


With an Iron Fist, Authorities Try to Rein in Kenya’s Lawless Streets by Sam Sturgis

Poor road safety is now globally the biggest killer of young people over the age of 10. However, in Kenya, government attempts have twice failed to provide public transportation more reliable than the unregulated fleet of privately owned buses and minivans—matatus—that enable city dwellers to get around cheaply. Sam Sturgis weighs in on the benefits and drawbacks to the governments’ latest attempt to increase road safety by raising the fines matatu drivers pay for safety violations.


Where Your Old Cell Phone Is Turned Into Cash by Sharon Benzoni

Sharon Benzoni continues to write about Old Fadama, this time about the flourishing informal recycling industry that’s profitable yet environmentally toxic. A significant amount of the world’s electronic waste ends up here in Accra, where it forms a pillar of the informal economy. “Furthermore, e-waste is an indicator of Ghana’s many development gains. Rising demand for these products reflects the country’s growing wealth. The government has made technology access and literacy the center of much of its development policy. Secondhand products, an affordable alternative to expensive new imports, give many more people access to information technology.”


Slums, Street Traders, & Superhighways Highlights

Our Transform Cities Focus Area 

Informal City Dialogues Site 




Read Next

Filter by Focus Area:

blog comments powered by Disqus
Blog Post Author
Benjamin de la Peña

Benjamin de la Peña is Director of Community and National Strategy at the Knight Foundation. He has extensive expertise in urban planning, change management, leadership development communications and innovation technologies.
See full bio

More posts
Filter by Focus Area:
All posts by Benjamin de la Peña »
Blog Updates via Email