Informal Settlement Dwellers in Algeria: How Local Initiatives and Practices Contribute to Improving their Living Conditions

Publication date:
Farida Naceur, Institute of Architecture, University of Batna, Algeria and Fatiha Belmessous, UMR CNRS 5600 EVS, Rives, ENTPE, Lyon

In scientific research with a purely economic perspective, informal settlements have often been viewed as bad physical environments, associated with illegality, marginalisation, precariousness and social problems. Over the years new perspectives have emerged. In 2000, De Soto used the term “survivalist strategies” to highlight the ingenuity and creativity of informal settlement dwellers (De Soto, 2000). Friedman introduced the notion of empowerment, self-organisation and coping strategies by which informal settlement dwellers improve their conditions (Friedman, 2005). Roy has emphasised how informal settlements need to be understood in a different way and introduced urban informality as “an organizing logic” (Roy, 2005: 148). This shows the growing interest in re-understanding urban informal settlements by stressing the importance of social context and dynamics in the formation and development of informal settlements.