Graduate Thesis - Into the Informality Diorama

This paper attempts to create an Informality Diorama by capturing the ‘sights’ of informality in Systems of Informal Transportation through local nuanced lenses while placing the reader INSIDE the diorama (rather than on the outside, as one would with a traditional diorama).

What is Informality?
“Informality is a term that has history rather than a definition.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
An Umbrella term for the world’s open secrets, unwritten rules and hidden practices of getting things done. - Global Encyclopedia of Informality

Deceivingly simple and extraordinarily complex, trivial in its everyday manifestations and capable of subverting the economic and political order of nations. - Portes and Haller

Expressions of mobility and temporariness, and its connection to the social construction of particular localities. - Kloos

A state of exception and ambiguity, such that the ownership, use, and purpose of the resource in question cannot be fixed and mapped according to any prescribed set of regulations or the law. - Roy​​​​​​​
What is Informal Transportation?
The most common definition states that Informal Transportation is "Demand-responsive, Unscheduled, Flexible, Public transportation services, Provided by self-organized small operators, Small to medium-sized motorized or non-motorized legacy vehicles, Usually without effective regulatory frameworks."
The cultural and geographical context actually creates the definition for each subtype/instance of Informal Transportation since each subtype can represent a different meaning or type of service in different places, as can be seen in the two case studies below.
Case Study 1 - The Marshrutkas
The vehicle will have a starting point and an end point but will stop anywhere to drop off or collect passengers. You can request that you be dropped off anywhere on the route. It is best to think of a Marshrutka as a shared taxi/minibus that may also deviate slightly from it’s route. The vehicle will leave its starting point as soon as there are enough people inside.
A mostly Fixed-Route Minibus with demand-based flexible stops on a fixed-to-variable schedule that operates on a flat fare.
Case Study 2 - The Autorickshaws and their different types
Autorickshaws are on-demand, for-hire services that take you door-to-door. They may be shared but are predominantly private-hired or hailed like a taxi. They are usually one of the quickest ways to get around the cities they operate in.
There are huge differences in practices and service offerings even between Autorickshaws in Bangalore, India and Kekes (autorickshaws) in Lagos, Nigeria.
A point-to-point demand-responsive ride-hail "taxi" service that can provide personal or shared trips operating on a meter-based fare.
Research Question.
"How can Informal Mobility Systems be stimulated to emerge in the Western World?"
Research Objectives,
Designing Critical Maps to Synthesize Research
Conversational Mind Mapping 
This is a Mind Map that explores how Informal Mobility and Informality interact with the intangible and tangible landscape around them through various conversations that are created through phrases or sentences mostly using verbs between the two interconnected concepts.
Perceptions of Informality
This is a map that questions and critiques our perception of informality and how we look at the different stakeholders in the ecosystems of Informal Transportation.
Argumentative Literature Map
This is a map of the existing literature in the fields of Informal Transportation and the concept of Informality that has been mapped as arguments that authors or experts in the field are making, in the form of key concepts talking to each other to create a network and showcase the gaps in the field.
Embracing Complexity 
This is a map creates a complex mess interconnected nodes and internodes to showcase the breadth of important concepts at play in informal systems as well as the depth of communication between them to form the environment around us.
Importance of Contextual Terminology
This is a map creates a bullseye map that visualizes how well existing terminology captures the concept of Informal Transportation. 
Defining 'Formality'
What are the attributes of Formality?
Case Study: Ecosystem of Autorickshaws in Bangalore, India
This is a map that tries to uncover the complex systems and loops behind the working ecosystem of Autorickshaws in the city of Bangalore, India.
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