© 2019 Elsevier Ltd As the first contribution in this Special Issue's section on “informality in developed contexts”, this paper explores notions of legality, legitimacy and credibility in the United Kingdom (UK). By drawing on credibility theory, the paper analyses two examples of informal development, the ‘Plotlands’ and Low Impact Development (LID); historic and contemporary respectively, the paper demonstrates that even within a context of extensive government control and relatively well funded state planning apparatus, informal development occurs. Moreover, even here, this informal development can carry credibility, problematizing notions of legitimacy because they are outside of the state sanctioned boundaries of acceptable development. This in turn raises questions about the ways in which the state defines and polices what it considers legitimate development. Not only can both Plotlands and LID claim credibility through their temporal and spatial persistence- through their function not form- they can make claims about the value of the way of life they are promoting. Both examples actively articulate ideas of self-reliance and sufficiency against discourses of urbanisation and the centralisation of regulation and control of land use. In so doing, they challenge the assumed universal legitimacy of a benevolent state and its power to render such developments and lifestyles illegitimate.
McClymont, K., & Sheppard, A. (2020). Credibility without legitimacy? Informal development in the highly regulated context of the United Kingdom. Cities, 97, 102520. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2019.102520