A sense of déjà vu was present, as much of this work could be interpreted as newer versions of old attempts to address informality by names that were absent from the symposium. Although implicit in some of the academic presentations, there was little reference to the wealth of work of the many professionals who historically contributed to the understanding of what we today call “the informal.” Specifically, early researchers in Latin America’s urban slums, such as William Mangin, John Turner, Jorge Hardoy, David Satterthwaite, Alvaro Ortega, Gustavo Riofrio, Hernando De Soto, and a long et cetera, are virtually unknown to today’s officials, policy makers, planners, and even academics. Revisiting that body of knowledge could help us bypass the cyclical waves that usually trap the work made in informal settlements. The need for a more careful study of how previous experiences can inform the present is more important now, as newer generations of professionals may not be aware of this existing body of work. There is no doubt that these professionals will face a bigger presence of the informal in their future, in both developing and developed countries alike. I would like to see us make sure that they are well aware of the past.
How to Cite this Article: Reimers, Carlos. Review of Conflict and Convergence: Urban Informality in Latin America, organized by Luis Diego Quiros and David Conrath, School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, October 4-5, 2014, JAE Online, November 1, 2014, https://jaeonline.org/issue-article/conflict-and-convergence/.