About the project

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Urban poor and marginalised communities have suffered the impact of austerity policies, structural re-adjustment and increased precariousness since the 2008 financial crash; a problematic situation aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Irregular, low-income employment have become daily survival strategies for many ordinary people. In this sense, transnational un-regulated migrants, and more generally racialised bodies, are the most vulnerable actors suffering in Southern European cities from informality and the application of national migration laws, surveillance/securitisation measures and local policies based on 'zero tolerance' models. Interestingly, the night has become to many of them a space-time to escape or transgress surveillance: taking advantage of under-regulated local spaces, many (racialised) precarious actors - such as street informal vendors, sex workers, domestic workers and petty dealers - spend their nights avoiding police patrols in order to work, play, move or rest.

The demonisation of this (Informal) Nocturnal City through moral panics reproduced in media and public discourse is used to justify spatial displacement of undesirable (precarious) actors from central areas in post-industrial Southern European cities and their exclusion from policy-making. However, new forms of collective action have emerged in Southern European cities during the last decade: informalised workers have organised themselves to fight and struggle against exclusion, police abuse and institutional racism enacted by the 'Fortress Europe' model. Hence, 'darkness' (as a symbolic dimension) and 'the night' (as a space-time) conflictively gather, not only the moralistic rethorics against the 'obscure', 'gloomy' and 'dangerous' Other, but also the hopes for radical change in the Southern region. 

INF_NIGHT will enhance debates in both the academic and urban policy and planning literatures concerning the informal night, through a transnational, policy-oriented study undertaken in Lisbon, Madrid and Rome. Through a novel combination of conceptual frameworks based on three fundamental pillars (informality, nocturnal life and urban security), and articulating these three with debates on urban governance, INF_NIGHT aims to address the ways in which informal practices conducted during night are imagined, negotiated and (re)produced and how these fundamentally affect urban change in post-industrial Southern European cities. 

If you would like to receive further information about the aim, scope and future outcomes of INFNIGHT project, or if you would like to be involve in any other way, please contact the Principal Investigator, Dr. Begoña Aramayona (B.Aramayona@sheffield.ac.uk). 

If you wish to report any safeguarding concern, please contact contact Dr. Philipp Horn (p.horn@sheffield.ac.uk; +44 114 222 6938; Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Room D19 Geography and Planning Building Winter Street. Sheffield, UK, S3) or Professor David Robinson (david.robinson@sheffield.ac.uk