Municipal Institute Of LearningMILE - Municipal Institute Of Learning
Bridging the Formal/Informal Economy Divide through Design and Planning Strategies for More Equitable and Thriving Urban Economies
Asiye eTafuleni, Durban University of Technology Urban Futures Centre, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) CREATE, and the eThekwini Municipality’s Municipal Institute of Learning (MILE) hosted a workshop on the Informal Economy on 11 July 2018 at the iTrump UMZ Office in Durban.

The workshop aimed to expand the dialogue on urban economies and the role of urban planning and design in supporting healthy, resilient cities. It brought together eThekwini municipal officials, researchers, and practitioners to collectively engage on how design and planning can contribute to the city-wide goals by bridging the formal and informal economy needs.

Kate Mytty, Research Associate and Co-Founder of MIT CREATE shared informal economy concepts, good practice and learning from global research on street vending and Cities. 

Richard Dobson, co-founder and Project Leader of Durban-based NPO, Asiye eTafuleni provided insights into the City's Informal Economy, emphasizing the history, learning, development and influence of the Built Environment on informal workers.

“The City has sustained the informal economy for over 22 years contributing to the infrastructure and security of informal workers. We need to be innovative on how we deliver and need to start a solid process to advance the informal economy,” said Dobson.

Bernardus Van Heerden, Strategic Development Manager at EThekwini Municipality talked about the Strategic Priorities of the Inner-City Local Area Plan (LAP)​. LAP aims to position EThekwini as Africa’s leading, most vibrant, liveable, walkable City Centre providing economic, residential, sporting and leisure opportunities for all , by 2040. 

Consultant, Joannne Lees explained the applications of the Inner-City Local Area Plan to the Informal Economy.

Practitioners spent the afternoon engaging in a discussion session to determine what the new institutional structure for implementing the inner-city Local Area Plan would look like. 

Through conversation and participatory activities, the learning event provided a platform to build a foundation for planning models and principles that can both create more equitable space for informal economic activities and contribute to the City’s planning process.

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