This essay foregrounds mobility in cities in the global South in order to recast our current understanding of how informal settlements function and how residents of these neighborhoods navigate increasingly feral economies. Focusing largely on an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, the piece explores the social worlds animated by mobility, bringing renewed attention to social and spatial practices. These include strategies of economic and social cooperation used by residents to spatially constitute communities, imbue them with meaning, and in the process create ladders to opportunity. The essay also demonstrates that when development agencies and advocates of the urban poor operate without a sociological understanding of the role of mobility, the results can be devastating.

You do not currently have access to this content.