The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU Working Paper - No. 140

Urbanism & the Production of Knowledge: The Case of Informality


6 August 2010

Authors: Andrew Wade

Publication Date: 2009

The subject of informality in architecture and urbanism is well documented, and in fact has seen a revival in the attention and importance bestowed upon it recently. As Ann Varley notes, after a time when informality was primarily the domain of political economists and social scientists, there is now "a resurgence of interest from architects and urbanists" (Varley, 2008, p. 1). This recent resurgence provides a moment of opportunity to examine the state of the knowledge produced (through both research and design) regarding informality, and to examine  possible adjustments to the ways that this knowledge is produced and disseminated. Following Foucault's intricate linkage of knowledge and power, the relevance of this inquiry is accentuated by the repercussions of knowledge production on power relationships (Foucault, 2002).  

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