Analysis of the Influences of Global Policies upon Informalization of Urban Spaces: the South Countries

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Associate Professor of Regional Planning, Alame Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran

4 PhD Candidate in Geography and Urban Planning, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran


In spite of political nature of planning decisions by many contemporary thinkers, a few attempts were carried out to establish relations between global planning strategies and political theories. It is important that the test of political thought in various planning strategies can make clear hidden political interests and methods in planning process. Until now, different policies and strategies have taken by governments in the South countries for encountering with informal settlements and their residential societies. Their formation, decline and stability are related to establishment of various dialogues for development and planning such as globalization, neo-liberalization, structural adjustment policies and democracy.
This research has an analytical method and it is based on realistic analysis on recognition of the nature and mechanisms of the informalization of space and using documentary research. In this analysis, the phenomenon of informalization of space occurs based on interactions of individuals and groups (government, local leaders and people) and decisions and their motivations in terms of strategies and tactics in dealing with global currents. At the macro level, political and economic policies of governments and circumstances such as political concentration, political instability, war, conflict, colonization and political confusion are in relation to global processes like globalization, neo-liberalism and structural adjustment policies and democracy in southern states. In middle level, actions and reactions and decision making of state and various stakeholders resulted by process of macro level has social and spatial effects and circumstances.
Results and discussion
The measures of urban planning have failed to produce urban space. In recognition of the failure of the government to make urban spaces, ordinary people have the potential to generate their desirable urban spaces by creative spatial practices. Experiences have indicated that among the official planners, ordinary people to the authorities and professionals tend to produce variations and differences rather than homogeneous spaces. Ordinary people have the ability to produce living spaces out of abstract spaces via adaptation and extending spaces for their daily cultural activities and practices. Definitely, it seems that state has not sufficient ability and liability to regulate urban space and forced urban residents to use their liabilities in shaping urban space by creating networks, coalitions and associations. With emphasis on the role of the alliance as a space practice in the production of urban space, we can say "spatial practices for various hidden forces that can distract homogeneous space towards their own goals, produce a dramatized space that is lived space of residents in informal settlements. Thus, in relation to the production of space, it can be argued that neoliberal ideology has changed perception of urban space because people in peri-urban areas look for places for the now and future investment. In addition to reducing the role of government in providing land and housing, it shows that poor people continue to struggle for affordable access to land for housing. Finally, this process leads to disputes over urban space. In fact, globalization intensifies competition for urban land. First, when demand is rapidly increasing, urban land is become scarce. On the other hand, a large percentage of urban migrants have been absorbed and created new economic opportunities by globalization. They cannot pay the price of urban land. In such circumstances, they have no option except to use their own initiative to have access to urban land, which finally have been lead to competition for urban land with government officials. In this regard, urban residents use their own everyday strategies although are not limited to informal land tenure, as the tools for access to land; they organize themselves in alliance to bargaining because they often have been completely excluded in urban decision processes and lobbying on competitive urban land. On the other hand, the involvement of government officials has attempted to control competition corruption, self-help housing, evictions and spatial development as spatial strategies of urban space.
Analysis of the experiences of countries has indicated some arguments. First, global processes have found out different forms in different countries; as space of the Southern have not been appropriate background to realize spaces of global flows due to colonization, war and political conflicts and resulted in informalization of space. Second, informal land and housing markets is provided not only among the poor but also in competition among the middle class even elite competition in the Third World. Third, in these countries, the problem is not formal and informal, but is the distinction between informalization of the poor and the middle class, but in both of them, the place of this informalization is mainly in the peri-urban areas. Fourth, approach of the right to the city can be addressed as an optimized approach to the rights of working-class groups and challenges in an informal urban background. Given the right to the city, decentralization of power from elites to the poor should be the first step, what Lefebvre called Utopia is a style of thinking that is possible in all regions of the world. Urban-based programs must have mechanisms for gathering the demands of the people. The right to the city is a gradual and procedural category. Adopting such an approach helps us achieve the right to produce life space and the right to have spaces everyday life in the city. Achieving this right provides a city with two components of access to urban resources and spaces and the quality of urban life and decision making of residents as active subject not the political object of institutionalized for all classes. 


Main Subjects

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