- The Uses of Informality
- Urban Development and Social Distinction in Mexico City
- Latin American Perspectives
- Volume | Issue number
- 44 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
“Urban informality” is a signifier that is disputed by real estate developers, politicians, and residents in undertaking strategies of social distinction and gaining particular political and economic benefits. Research in the western periphery of Mexico City distinguishes three cases of such use of informality. First, real estate developers employ informality as a threat to valorize and justify an enclosed “First World” lifestyle in gated communities. Second, informality motivates homeowners’ associations to take on a neighborhood-defending and state-monitoring role. Third, besides its function in reconstituting class frontiers, it serves as a referent for broader social mobilization against the perceived informality of the local elite. By facilitating social distinction, informality continues to marginalize communities as it influences planning decisions and access to land in urban Latin America.
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