The panel looks at how mobility interplays with informality in making urban spaces with particular attention at how local and translocal informal actors and their everyday mobile practices transform spaces and influence the policy-making process.
This panel aims to discuss how the recent urban expansion is entangled with informality and mobility all over the African continent. Informality is understood here not as a sector but as a historical process and a mode of spatial production, involving a great variety of actors. Their everyday practices produce and reshape the urban space as the outcome of a constant negotiation with the state. The state, particularly local government in a context of neoliberal decentralised governance, plays a key role and exercises influence over these actors and activities. Moreover, such social practices have incorporated over time the element of mobility, another historical pattern of African society as informality, that today articulates geographies among long distances and different locations. Novel trans-regional flows and settlement patterns arise, representing the actual, underexplored, infrastructure of the contemporary African urban life.
The panel calls for contributions based on empirical research in different African countries which adopt a relational approach looking at how mobility interplays with informality in making urban spaces, not only in explored rural-urban and intra-urban daily mobility, but also across transnational and translocal spaces. In particular, the panel would like to address questions as: how is informality expressed and experienced through mobile practices and which are their socio-spatial manifestations? How are actors, involved in multiple local and translocal informal networks of social and economic exchange, engaged in transformation processes? How they interact with and influence the policy-making process or are institutionalized by the municipal modes of real governance?