Two Weeks in Photos

| 06/21/2013 3:08pm
Informal City Dialogues

Over the past two weeks, our bloggers rode buses in Lima, searched for scrap in Nairobi and shopped for forged college diplomas in Manila. Here are some of the photos they took along the way.


Autorickshaws buzzing through the streets of Chennai. A lack of smart regulation has made the informal transportation system problematic for both passengers and drivers.

Waste-pickers search for items they can sell in Nairobi. The life of a waste-picker is difficult and unhealthy, but the promise of profit draws people to the sector anyway.

A cobrador hangs from a bus in Lima. Amid a chaotic system of private buses, it’s the cobradors and dateros who keep the system running as smoothly as can be expected.

Phony IDs and diplomas for sale in a Manila market. The vendors of such forged documents do a brisk business selling to people who need a quick, painless college education.

Volunteer traffic cops keep an Accra traffic jam moving through a tunnel. Part of the city’s “gift economy,” these informal workers subsist on donations from grateful drivers.

A BRT station in Lima. The BRT system is the most visible evidence of the city’s wider effort to get its transportation system under control.

A Kenyan vendor and — until she was arrested — an enthusiastic user of Bangla-Pesa, an alternate currency used by the poor. Bangla-Pesa spenders have been targeted by authorities for allegedly supporting a separatist plot.

Junk-sellers sort through recyclables collected by office workers in Bangkok. Janitors sort bottles and cans and sell them to wholesalers to supplement their incomes.