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Manchester Urban Institute

Informalities and Vulnerabilities

One billion people in the global south are living in urban neighbourhoods without safe and secure housing or adequate access to basic services.

Most of these households live in informal settlements, which are characterised by an absence of adequate planning and management by the state and informal or illegal land transactions.

Stilted slum building erected on the water

The vulnerabilities associated with informal shelter are often compounded by residents’ participation in the informal economy, which accounts for the majority of economic activity in many cities of the global south.

Alongside longstanding debates about urban informalities and vulnerabilities in the global south, more recently there has been growing interest in these phenomena in cities of the global north.