Integrating Informal Trade

Although difficult to measure, estimates indicate that the informal sector generates between 10 and 20% of the aggregate outputs of developed countries and between 30 and 50% of developing countries. However this sector is not only important for local economies but also as a means for achieving more sustainable cities.  For instance, informal trade in cities increase densities of economic activity, improving efficiencies of urban services such as public transport systems. Increased diversity in economic activity associated with informal trade improves local resilience in the event of economic downturns. Informal trade also provides local, convenient, access to goods and services required for everyday life, reducing negative impacts associated with travel, such as pollution and accidents

Despite substantial contributions to the local economy and potential enhancements in city sustainability performance, informal trade is largely ignored in city planning policy. This paper therefore aims to understand patterns of informal trading in cities in order to ascertain their implications for city planning.  This is carried out through a study of informal trading in Pretoria, South Africa. Through analysis of informal trading, the study develops a taxonomy, or classification, of informal trading types. This is used as basis to propose city planning measures that could be used to integrate the different types of informal trade within cities more effectively.

The full paper citation is: Gibberd J,. Integrating Informal Trade, Urban Transitions Conference, Shanghai, September 2016