Economies of entrepreneurialism and political agency

Urban informality as a design paradigm for resilient future cities

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Today, the world faces a multitude of complex societal issues, that need urgent attention for enhanced quality of life and resilient futures. With the help of a study on the daily mobilities of urban marginalised women (UMW) supported by state-of-the-art literature, this paper presents insights into the aspects of urban informality that can inform the design and planning of future cities capable of surviving the situations of crises. By adopting a combination of new technologies along with mobile methods and ethnography, this research centres around the everyday travel experiences of the urban marginalized women from the peri-urban areas of New Delhi who contest their right to access stationery and mobile public spaces. Following the elements of qualitative research, this study examines the socio-spatial environment comprising the daily mobilities of UMW to reveal certain conditions of informality that enable their access and participation in socio-economic activities. In doing so, the paper highlights the significance of various infrastructures emerging from the social conditions of doing things together (social interdependence), belonging to a community and the aspects of self-organisation that are crucial for the sustained functioning of cities. Moreover, it presents a perspective for designers to identify and embrace temporary ways of existing and operating towards resilient cities of the future. With the help of the findings from this study, this paper presents urban informality as a design paradigm for various systems and services of future resilient cities that are more equitable and inclusive, and at the same time adapt to the dynamic uncertain situations of crises by being flexible, adaptable and leaving spaces for the emergence of bottom-up citizen-led initiatives.