Formalizing the informal? - The transformation of Cairo's refuse collection system

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    The paper examines recent attempts to bring Cairo's traditional refuse collection system under municipal control. Although essentially informal, this system had a well-defined set of internal rules, rights, and sanctioning mechanisms that evolved over several decades in response to a changing external environment. Attempts by the municipal authorities to "modernize" waste collection in Cairo by issuing licenses to large corporate contractors amounted to a confrontation between its legal regulatory authority and the existing informal system. After a process of contestation, mediation, negotiation, and adjustment, a new arrangement emerged in which the informal service providers selectively adopted institutional forms that could be legally recognized by municipal authorities, while retaining the personalized and flexible practices that were central to their informal system.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)115-126
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 1996


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