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The thousands of Peruvians who were forced to urbanize during Peru’s period of rural violence are now running the small businesses that are helping Lima’s economy boom today. Read the full story: How 1980s Terrorism Helped Create a Class of Accidental Entrepreneurs.

This post is part of the Informal City Dialogues, featuring stories and insights from six rapidly urbanizing cities around the world.

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The neighborhood of Grogan in downtown Nairobi is well known for its informal repair shops. As Nairobi’s big companies flee to the suburbs, street hawkers are flowing into the Central Business District. City officials worry that the rising tide of informal businesses is driving bigger companies away. 

Photos by Sam Sturgis, Informal City Dialogues blogger in Nairobi, Kenya. Read his story about downtown Nairobi: A Central Business District Trades its Corporations for Car Washers.

This photo is part of the Informal City Dialogues, featuring stories and insights from six rapidly urbanizing cities around the world.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Informal City Dialogues involve a diverse group of citizens representing public, private, civic, industry, non-profits, local philanthropies, workers, street vendors, urban poor groups, academics, women and youth in the cities of Accra, Bangkok, Chennai, Lima, Metro Manila and Nairobi.

http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/current-work/informal-city-dialogues

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Polvos Azules, one of Lima’s busiest shopping complexes, is nearly indistinguishable from a regular mall. You’d never guess that almost all of it is illegal. The complex is a good place to find DVDs before they’re officially released.

Photo by Manuel Vigo, blogger in Lima, Peru. Read his story about Polvos Azules: Beneath Its Polished Surface, a Black-Market Shopping Center Thrives.

This photo is part of the Informal City Dialogues, featuring stories and insights from six rapidly urbanizing cities around the world.

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Amid religious intolerance, social stigma and a political fight over family planning, some women in Manila are seeking out informal access to contraception.

Photos by Purple Romero, Informal City Dialogues blogger in Manila, Philippines. Read her story about the pill’s stealthy journey through a conservative city: The Pill’s Stealthy Journey Through a Conservative City.

This photo is part of the Informal City Dialogues, featuring stories and insights from six rapidly urbanizing cities around the world.

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In Accra’s largest informal settlement, a credit association designed to upgrade the slum has become something much more: An impassioned weekly rally against government aggression.

Photo 1: Savings from the credit association in Old Fadama have allowed residents to upgrade their homes from wood to concrete. Credit: Shack Dwellers International.

Photo 2: Mohammed Alhassan, the association’s money collector. Photo by Sharon Benzoni, Informal City Dialogues blogger in Accra, Ghana. Read her full story: How a Savings Bank Became One Slum’s Line in the Sand.

This photo is part of the Informal City Dialogues, featuring stories and insights from six rapidly urbanizing cities around the world.

Watch on informalcity.tumblr.com

The story of Niyom and Ae, two street vendors in Bangkok. Like everything in this city of 12 million, the street-hawking economy is transforming as a new class of vendors brings an unfamiliar set of skills and ambitions to the scene. Learn more: From Vendors to Housing, Informal Bangkok Is In Flux.

Watch this video with Thai subtitles.

This film is part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Informal City Dialogues, in partnership with Forum for the Future and Next City. The project aims to start a conversation about informality in six different developing cities, and how we might make those cities more inclusive and resilient as we move into our rapidly urbanizing future.

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