This editorial introduces and contextualises the Special Issue on informalities in urban transport and mobility in cities across the Global South, East and North. It identifies a mutual misrecognition between the urban studies literature on informality and research on transport and mobilities, and proposes that urban mobility be understood as a critical site of contestations over (in)formalisation processes.
The editorial suggests that the articles gathered in the Special Issue diversify and extend understandings of informality in both the transport and urban studies literatures. It outlines three specific contributions that the articles make. Drawing on conceptualisations of informality from across the social sciences and by offering empirical studies of informalities in urban mobility in the Global East and North, the articles confront the habit of dualistic thinking in relation to informalities in urban mobility. They move beyond the formal/informal binary and challenging the North/South division which associates informality predominantly with the South. The papers in the Special Issue also highlight how ‘informal transport’ is a highly dynamic sector at the vanguard of innovation, digitalisation and platform urbanism. Finally, the articles demonstrate that informalities in urban mobility offer a useful analytical lens onto questions of labour struggles and subject formation within ongoing urban transformations.
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You can now access the editorial, by Lela Rekhviashvili (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography), Wojciech Kębłowski (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, COSMOPOLIS Centre for Urban Research, and Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium), Claudio Sopranzetti (Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Central European University, Austria), and Tim Schwanen (Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford, UK), at science direct.