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Popular Urbanization. Conceptualizing Urbanization Processes beyond Informality

Monika Streule, Ozan Karaman, Lindsay Sawyer, Christian Schmid


This article introduces the concept of popular urbanization to describe a specific urbanization process based on collective initiatives, self-organization and the activities of inhabitants. Its authors understand popular urbanization as an urban strategy through which an urban territory is produced, transformed and appropriated by the people.

Based on postcolonial critiques of urban theory and on the epistemologies of planetary urbanization, we bring urbanization processes into conversation with each other through a multidimensional theoretical framework inspired by Henri Lefebvre focusing on material interaction, territorial regulation, and everyday experience.

In this way, popular urbanization emerged as a distinct urbanization process. In proposing the concept of popular urbanization for further examination, the aim is to contribute to the collective development of a decentered vocabulary of urbanization.

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