ATLAS OF INFORMAL SETTLEMENT: Understanding Self-Organized Urban design

Kim Dovey, Matthijs van Oostrum, Tanzil Shafique, Ishita Chatterjee and Elek Pafka

London: Bloomsbury (in press)

In population terms, informal settlement is the most pervasive mode of urbanization on the planet and absorbs most rural-to-urban migration in developing cities. While often understood as a euphemism for ‘slum’ and seen as ‘unplanned’ or ‘spontaneous’, informal settlement is better understood as a mode of production – a form of architecture and urban design that shapes the infrastructure of these neighbourhoods. This book investigates the spatial logic of informal settlement based on mapping the morphogenesis of urban form in 51 contemporary settlements in a global context. It demonstrates the range of morphological processes and outcomes, and the self-organizational practices that produce them. It presents a fundamental change in thinking for those who wish to engage with the urban design, planning and architectural challenges of informal settlement. The prospect is a better knowledge base for understanding how such practices may or may not produce ‘slums’, how ‘upgrading’ practices may be improved and how informal production may be anticipated and harnessed.

Related Publications

Recio, R. & Dovey, K. (2021) ‘Forced eviction by another name: Neoliberal urban development in Manila’, Planning Theory & Practice. 22(5):

Alegria, V. & Dovey, K. (in press) ‘Morphogenesis of Contemporary Informal Settlement in Chile’, Urban Design International.

Dovey, K., Cook, B. & Achmadi, A. (2019) ‘Contested Riverscapes in Jakarta: Flooding, forced eviction and urban image’, Space and Polity, 23(3)

Dovey, K., van Oostrum, M., Chatterjee, I. & Shafique, T. (2020) ‘Towards A Morphogenesis of Informal Settlement’ Habitat International.

Dovey, K., Shafique, T., van Oostrum, M. & Chatterjee, I. (2020)  ‘Informal Settlement is Not a Euphemism for ‘Slum’, International Development Planning Review.

Kamalipour, H. & Dovey, K. (2020) ‘Incremental Production of Urban Space: A typology of informal design’, Habitat International. advance online Publ

Kamalipour, H. & Dovey, K. (2019) ‘Mapping the Visibility of Informal Settlements’, Habitat International, 85, 63-75.  doi: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2019.01.002

Dovey, K. 2020) ‘Informal Settlement as a Mode of Production’, in Loukaitou-Sideris, A. & Bannerjee, T. (eds) Urban Design Companion, New York: Routledge.

Dovey, K. & Kamalipour, H. (2018) ‘Informal/Formal Morphologies’, in: Dovey, et al. (eds) Mapping Urbanities, New York: Routledge, pp. 223-44.

Kamalipour, H. & Dovey, K. (2018) ‘Incremental Urbanisms’, in: Dovey, et al. (eds) Mapping Urbanities, New York: Routledge, pp.249-68.

Dovey, K. (2017) ‘Informal Settlement and Assemblage Theory’ in: Hannigan, J. & Richards, G. (eds) The Sage Handbook of New Urban Studies, London: Sage, pp.480-95.

Dovey, K. (2013) ‘Informalizing Architecture’, in Mosley, J. & Sara, R. (eds) Architecture of Transgression, London: AD Monographs, pp.82-89.

Owen, C., Dovey, K. & Raharjo, W. (2013) ‘Teaching Informal Urbanism: Simulating Informal Settlement Practices in the Design Studio’, Journal of Architectural Education, 67 (2) 214-223

Dovey, K. (2012) ‘Informal Settlement and Complex Adaptive Assemblage’, International Development Planning Review, 34 (3) 371-90.

Dovey, K. & King, R. (2011) ‘Forms of Informality: Morphology and Visibility of Informal Settlements’, Built Environment 37 (1), pp.11-29.