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:
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.
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.”
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Informal City DialoguesDespite their disorder, slums are also places of entrepreneurship and human energy.
ResearchMany cities experiencing rapid urban expansion are struggling to understand and respond to the needs of their populations, and particularly the poor.
Informal City DialoguesThis event in New York will feature a discussion with the filmmakers, Ryan Hill, Still Life Projects, and collaborators, Diana Lind, Next City; Will Doig, Next City.
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