Between Informal and Illegal in the Global North: Planning Law, Enforcement, and Justifiable Noncompliance
Chapter 8 pp.150-185 in Udo Grashoff (Ed.) Comparative Approaches to Informal Housing.around the Globe. University College London (UCL) Press, 2020
42 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2020
Date Written: March 12, 2020
Much research has focused on the widespread phenomenon of “informal” construction in developing countries, where planning laws are dysfunctional. However, in recent years scholars have used this term with reference to Global North countries as well, where planning laws generally do function reasonably well. In this chapter, we take on a difficult task: to try and distinguish contexts or situations where indeed, planning law fails to the extent that noncompliance should be regarded as justifiable. To do so, we first demonstrate the difficulties and elusiveness of making a judgment of when noncompliance merits the term “informal”, thus calling for conceptual criteria. Once the challenges and dilemmas are exposed, the paper proposes six situations – or criteria– when noncompliance may be justifiable. Each is accompanied with real-life examples. The chapter concludes by pointing out the deep shortcomings in the interrelationships between regulatory planning on the one hand, and the grossly under-researched enforcement functions.
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