UCL Urban Laboratory


Informality and housing precarity: Urban perspectives across North-South

16 June 2021, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

Book cover of Housing in the Margins depicting an informal house in the foreground and tower blocks in the background

Book launch of Hanna Hilbrandt's 'Housing in the Margins' hosted by the Urban Salon, together with the Center for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin

This event is free.

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UCL Urban Laboratory

Housing in the Margins: Negotiating Urban Formalities in Berlin's Allotment Gardens (Wiley, 2021) is inspired by concepts of informality which have been generated across the global South. In the book, Dr Hilbrandt develops new perspectives on practices of housing governance in Berlin through the twentieth century: normative judgements, room for manoeuvre and ongoing minor acts of negotiation add up to a way to mobilise the concept of informality as “routine enactments of rules and regulations”.

The panelists will respond to Hanna’s detailed ethnography of the technically illegal use of allotment garden structures as dwellings in Berlin, both at times of housing crisis and on an ongoing basis.

Hanna Hilbrandt is assistant professor of social and cultural geography at the University of Zurich. Her research explores marginality and exclusion in housing and urban development as well as socio-spatial inequalities in the context of global economic restructuring.


  • Julie-Anne Boudreau (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  • Francesco Chiodelli (Università degli Studi di Torino)
  • Alex Vasudevan (University of Oxford)


  • Matthew Gandy (University of Cambridge and the Urban Salon)
  • Dorothee Brantz (Technische Universität, Berlin)