The Urban Informal Economy: Towards more inclusive cities
Chen, Marty.
August, 2016
Publication Type:
Research Paper

This article was written by WIEGO's International Coordinator, Marty Chen.

Introduction: The majority of urban workers in developing countries earn their livelihoods in the informal economy. Therefore, understanding urban informal employment is critical to promoting inclusive cities and reducing urban poverty. But, many cities around the world are actively undermining or destroying urban informal livelihoods. Practices that exclude informal workers from participating in cities are the norm in many parts of the world: there are daily reports of slum and street vendor evictions and unreported harassment of informal workers by local authorities, including bribes and confiscation of goods, on a daily basis.

In response, organizations of urban informal workers are gaining in numbers, strength and solidarity; and are demanding more inclusive urban policies and practices in support of their livelihoods. Over the past year or more, with support from the WIEGO Network, some of these organizations have jointly sought to integrate a focus on informal livelihoods in the policy discussions before and at the Habitat III summit and in the New Urban Agenda document which will be adopted at that summit.

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