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In the major cities of Asia, Africa and Latin America, the urban poor often have to step outside the law to gain access to housing. Much has been written about the problems they face, but few studies have asked why it matters that their housing is illegal, or what should be done about it. ""Illegal Cities"" seeks to answer these questions by exploring the role of law in the process of urban change. Its broad geographical coverage combines national case studies with overview chapters by leading specialists in the field.;Original and comprehensive, it aims to bring the largely neglected discussion on law and urban change to the attention of those interested in urban studies, to demystify the subject and challenge the uncritical treatment which it has received in traditional legalistic studies.