Oxford Urbanists’ June regional monthly topic enters the global debate on the importance of mainstreaming urban informality analysis as part of urban planning and decision-making.
With 80% of Latin America’s population living in cities, this region’s urban reality is deeply connected to the lives of millions of people who, for many circumstances, are forced to migrate to urban areas. There, they often struggle to find ways to adapt to the urban environment, as cities continue to grow facing multiple challenges and limitations that prevent them from providing affordable housing and adequate public services to the constantly increasing number of newcomers.
Living outside the planned city, this population has historically been overlooked by urban policies and plans. Its contribution to the urban environment, the local economy, the social vibrancy and cultural diversity has been greatly underestimated. Therefore, the notion of “urban informality” that addresses this phenomenon, is key to understanding how neglecting the needs and challenges of this population contributes to widen the inequality gap in the region’s cities.
As such, OU June’s regional monthly topic further advances the global debate on the importance of mainstreaming urban informality analysis as part of urban planning and decision-making. This approach is especially relevant in the Latin American rapid urbanization context, to seize the potential opportunities presented by urban informality to develop inclusive, resilient and sustainable cities.
Carol Guerra holds a specialization in Managing and Financing Urban Infrastructure from the Institute of Housing and Urban Development Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. She also holds a bachelor’s degree Cum Laude in law and social sciences from Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. She has ten years of experience in researching legal and institutional frameworks to understand their impact on urban development. Working as a consultant for multilateral organizations, national and local governments, she has contributed in the formulation of policies, laws and regulations for integral urban development and affordable housing in Guatemala and The Caribbean. She believes in the multidisciplinary approach to urban planning as a means to fully seize its opportunities for economic development and achieve urban inclusivity.