Thursday, 7 July 2011

Informal workers, informal streets

A session on economic planning and development at the World Planning Schools Congress suggests informal workers (auf Deutsch nichtdokumentiere Arbeiter, vielleicht auch Gastarbeiter) in large cities often have potential to better organise, and are a vital element of city vitality. (WPSC session 15A) The case of WIEGO - Women in Informal Employment Globalising and suggests three sectors of workers, street vendors, waste pickers and home workers, all vulnerable and poor marginal citizens have much to offer to city vitality in many cases.

Other research showed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) schemes were used in Chicago city regeneration, with the intention of decreasing blight and creating jobs, (even if not in the TIF area?) but also drained funding from schools and other urban social infrastructure. The lack of localism in the programme seemed to work against its effectiveness.

A UTM Curtin study tour investigating 'vibrancy' in the new cities Cyberjaya and Putrajaya in Malaysia suggests these centres seem to have almost dispensed with the old idea of the street. The new Malaysian urban culture here is car and road based, segregated, along a multi-media development corridor with sparsely located iconic buildings. On counts such as walkability, cycleability, interconnectivity and transit orientation, the urbanism was considered lacking, although for the benefit of international 'direct investment' the area is located near the KLIA International Airport.