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The Urban Glossary Project

Un proyecto del Urban Popular Economy Collective, conformado por investigadorxs de varios paises y continentes (entre lxs cuales tres integrantes del GT CLACSO, Veronica Gago, Cristina Cielo, Alioscia Castronovo).

Image credit T. Nagar market, Chennai, India. McKay Savage. CC 2.0,

What do different kind of workers have in common and what links them? Reflection by the Urban Popular Economy Collective, hosted by Cityscapes Magazine

The first project of the Urban Popular Economy Collective has been to put together a glossary of concepts that seek to explore the breadth of experiences and considerations that we feel are important tools to hone in on the makings of such economies.

The glossary does not seek to be comprehensive. It doesn’t try to offer an overarching definition, but rather to provoke, explore, pursue different angles, open things up, create space for highlighting different practices, sensibilities, and feelings. The glossary is also an experiment with different kinds of vernaculars, ways of saying things, which we feel is also important to sustain collective investigation.

Photo: Fish food-court, Muara Angke by Wie146 .CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Popular economies are more than jobs, more than particular kinds or sectors of work, they are changing their shape and character

The queue might not be a space of radical action, but standing in line need not prevent us from developing a solidarity of care

Public/common spaces Thinking about public spaces as commons in occupations emphasises the many informal relationships and sharing around collective spaces

Propositions In North Jakarta, a seeming imperative to “programme” the district with a multiplicity of inputs is constantly delivering new scenarios

Popular Institutions A new, “popular entrepreneurship” is charting a new, dynamic urban commons in Argentina

Evolving Logics of Visibility The pandemic has redefined our understanding of essential work — and those who are doing it. That's not without it's own problems.

Image credit Crèche Tia Carminha at Eliana Silva occupation, 2013, photo

Mobile Home Praying, and searching for home in Kinshasa

Commoning (Re)production In informal communities across Brazil, women are quietly organising themselves into formidable groups and movements to guard against violence and oppression.

The Neighbourhood as Factory Macro framings of spaces in which the "informal sector” thrives can dilute their complexity and substance

Models The act of modelling is more important than what any model has to say

Failure Failure has always haunted Shenzhen

Fakes Fake has become a term to identify not just the counterfeit or substandard but dubious intent

Fixing Three fixing agendas that are foundational to how we think about land

Domestic Territories Along with the increase in reports of gender-based violence following the start of the pandemic, there is also the gendered violence perpetrated on those who are held hostage by their landlords

Everyday Antagonisms Market stallholders in Mercado Bonpland organise diverse economies, which illuminate possibilities for arranging economic relations differently

Evidence In Kinshasa, youth gang members' obsession with American culture and its folklore is a way of escaping the grim realities of life at the city's margins

Green Speak Journalists are using a tactical obscuring of language commonly known as Green speak in Argentina to hide in plain sight what they cannot say freely to different political and economic audiences. But, who is this serving?

Generic Instability The ability to convert one’s skills and positions into a negotiable form that can potentially purchase different opportunities and perspectives is now an essential tool for survival

Landing the state into space Projects like Bangalore’s Arkavathy Layout - Asia’s largest housing development- are exposing deep divides on the meaning of land across different communities and interests

The accelerated arrival of new proposals for financial inclusion in Argentina, further elaborated in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, can be analysed based on five points

Permanent Transitoriness Not simply outcomes of inadequate policies, the occupants and economies of low-income rentals


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