Fact sheet 26: Public Spaces & Informal Work: Principles and Approaches to Law & Policy-Making | by Kristen Petersen

Public space forms the setting for a number of activities, including the setting for community life and livelihoods of the urban poor, such as street vendors or waste-pickers. There is growing evidence pointing to the problematic way in which public space is governed. In many developing countries, laws and policies, particularly at a local government level, tend to restrict the ability of people to earn a livelihood or perform life-sustaining activities in public spaces. Contravention of local ordinances or by-laws is frequently treated as a criminal offence, compromising informal dwellers and workers’ livelihoods, denying due process protections and often violating their human rights. In this factsheet, we contextualise how laws and policies result in the criminalisation of the poor and consider principles that are fundamental to good policy-making.
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