Claiming the City – Civil Society Mobilisation by the Urban Poor

Half of the world’s population lives in cities, and a growing proportion – today one billion – lives in “slums” and informal settlements. Many of the urban poor engage in collective strategies to secure their housing, earn a living, and defend their interests. Their claims on the city often conflict with the demands of other urban groups over access to resources, space, and power. They also challenge the definitions of urban authorities and city planners regarding which claims are to be seen as legitimate.

On April 16-17, 2013, CSD Uppsala organized a conference that focused on informal and formalised networks and associations of urban poor – as well as other civil society organisations working in support of their claims – and their significance for strengthening people’s political, social and economic position in the city. Participants were researchers and students, actors within international development cooperation, activists, and others with interest in the issues. For more information, see past events.

At the end of 2013, a volume with edited versions of all conference presentations will be published in our series Outlook on Civil Society. The book can be ordered without cost from, and will be possible download as pdf-files.