Volume 30 Call for Papers

We invite original research, critical reflections, and photo essays that explore the conditions and implications of urban informality.

The tenuous interface between formality and informality is a natural condition of urbanism. Formal regulation by governments and other institutions has been celebrated in modern cities, yet informal and semiformal infrastructure and services permeate spaces and systems that are integral to urban life. Squatter settlements constitute vast and vibrant urban communities across the Global South. Appropriation of street spaces by informal vendors substantially influences urban economies and the character of the public realm. Transportation systems are heavily impacted by informal paratransit and disruptive technologies. Even urban data are increasingly open and crowdsourced, loosening researchers’ reliance on governmental and corporate sources. Given the pervasiveness of informality, how can we differentiate it from the formal? Does informality benefit marginalized populations, or does it encourage inequality? Are planning and informality inherently antithetical, or are there opportunities for planners to embrace informality as they seek to improve urban well-being?

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Slums
  • Homelessness
  • Urban Poverty & Justice
  • Informal Economies
  • Public Spaces
  • Paratransit
  • Elite Informality
  • Disruptive Technologies
  • Open & Crowdsourced Data

Text submissions should be fully edited and formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition. Research and reflection papers should be 4,000–6,000 words, excluding references; they will be juried through a double-blind, peer-review process. Photo essays should be 1,000–2,000 words and 8–10 images; they will be reviewed by members of our editorial board. We reserve the right to deny review of content which is insufficiently edited for mechanics, organization, or style.

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Submitting to the Urban Fringe

The Urban Fringe accepts submissions for written and visual pieces on a rolling basis. Students, researchers, and practitioners both within and outside the Berkeley community are encouraged to submit. To discuss a submission, please contact the Urban Fringe Editor with the form below.

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