The Informal Urbanism Research Hub at the Melbourne School of Design

InfUr- is an assemblage of researchers and projects focused on the role of urban informality in the creative production of cities of both the Global South and North.

This includes the many ways urban informality intersects with formal urban systems, and a better understanding of the logic and resilient capacities embodied in self-organised urbanism. The Hub embodies a shared interest in how power is practised as a form of self-organisation, and in the struggles of marginalised populations to assert their right to the city.

The built environment disciplines and professions have traditionally focused on the formally authorised frameworks through which the city is planned, designed, constructed and governed. Yet all cities are produced by both formal and informal practices. Informal urbanism is not necessarily illegal, rather it is self-organised. It is not separate from but intersects with the formal structures of state regulation and control, often in reaction to practices of displacement, marginalisation and exclusion.

The InfUr- acronym evokes the ways informal urbanism infuses the formal city and often infuriates the state. Informal urbanism is the original or Ur-form of the city and of citizenship – it puts the Ur back into urbanism.

Co-Directors: Kim Dovey, Crystal Legacy, Patrick Cobbinah, and Ashraful Alam