Next City has released an ebook that compiles the best reporting, research and photojournalism from the year-long Informal City Dialogues in a single online digest. From do-it-yourself disaster recovery plans to private water markets, Twitter-based emergency services and street vendors withMBAs, the interplay between formal and informal systems tells the story of how many of the developing world’s cities are growing.

In the ebook, you’ll also find short films that speak to the informal realm’s remarkable resilience, and provocative commentary from some of the most influential names working in the field today, including from Mike Davis, Sheela Patel and Benjamin Barber.

Download for free here.





Campaign posters flutter in the breeze near a shoe seller in Nairobi.

Okada drivers in Accra wait for passengers near the Central Post Office. A popular form of informal transit for its ability to bypass traffic, drivers of okada motorcycle taxis are nevertheless stigmatized because of their image as criminals.

A student at St. Martin’s school in Kibera draws water. With few formal schools, women in the Nairobi neighborhood build and operate schools themselves, usually without pay.

A woman checks out the merchandise at P’ Ae’s stall in Siam Square, Bangkok. After going to business school in London and working as a manager in the corporate world, P’ Ae decided to make a living selling earrings on the street.

For trash pickers at Dandora, the dump is a necessary evil.

One of Nairobi’s many private buses. Recently the city has tried to crack down on bus operators who break the law, but the cheap and popular transport service seems to naturally resist regulation. 

A child waits in the shade while workers harvest nearby in Sai Noi. These fields were inundated during the flood in 2011.

At Nairobi’s futures scenarios workshop, participants envisioned four outcomes for the city in 2040, some good, some ominous.

Before a line of cars, a juggler plies is trade. Traffic jams in Lima have created a captive audiencefor the city’s street performers.

A woman feeding catfish at the temple next to the Klong Phraya Suren water gate.

Clothes await customers on mannequins in Gamarra, Lima’s bustling textile district. The neighborhood is an intricately woven informal factory system that produces garments by the ton.