Informal workers account for 50 to 80 percent of urban employment and generate from 25 to 50 percent of the (non-agricultural) gross domestic product of the global south. Yet they are largely excluded from public infrastructure and services, public space, and public procurement contracts. Many cities are either hostile or ambivalent towards informal workers.

A small but growing number of cities are adopting more inclusive approaches to informal workers and this offers important lessons for cities that seek a more equal, productive and environmentally sustainable future. This paper examines different approaches that cities have taken towards the informal self-employed workers and their livelihood activities.

Towards a More Equal City is a series of 16 papers that examines if equitable access to core urban services can help achieve higher economic productivity and better environmental quality for the city. Visit for more.

Read our blog in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

Download Presentation PDF


10:00-10:10 AM

Opening remarks and welcome by Ani Dasgupta (WRI)

10:10-10:20 AM

The WRR Framing and connection to informal workers by Victoria Beard (WRI)

10:20-10:30 AM

Paper highlights by Martha Chen (WIEGO)

10:30-11:30 AM

Panel discussion on the findings and recommendations in the paper (Martha Chen (WIEGO), Rubbina Karruna (DFID), Judy Baker (World Bank), Oliver Azuara (IDB))

11:30-11:45 AM

Q&A with attendees

11:45-11:55 AM

Announcement of WRR Porto Alegre case study launch by Robin King (WRI)

11:55-12:00 AM

Next steps on the WRR by Anjali Mahendra (WRI)


Martha Chen, co-founder, WIEGO

Rubbina Karruna, Cities Adviser, DFID

Judy Baker, Lead Economist in the Global Practice for Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience, World Bank

Oliver Azuara, Senior Economist, Labor Markets & Pensions, Inter American Development Bank

Victoria Beard, Fellow, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

Robin King, Director of Knowledge Capture & Collaboration at WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

Anjali Mahendra, Director of Research, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

Ani Dasgupta, Global Director, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities

For more information, please contact Valeria Gelman.

For media inquiries, please contact Craig Brownstein.