We live in an era in the urban South when political belonging is often framed in terms of nationalist identities, but where institutional inclusion is defined largely socio-economically. Thus, both non-nationals and poor residents typically engage in informal practices in the urban South. But what happens to informality following a crisis such as an environmental disaster, economic collapse, an earthquake, a fire, a pogrom or a contagion? Crises matter because both because they are likely to become more common in the urban south, and because they provide opportunities for political and socio-economic exclusion to be challenged.. Consequently, after a crisis, what do subaltern groups do to enhance their political recognition and/or socio-economic well-being? What political and socio-economic strategies do they develop, and how do they relate to each other? Do they use the crisis to seek out recognition from the state in some form, or do they embrace socio-economic tactics away from the gaze of political authority. What does all this mean for sustainable development and democratic citizenship in the urban South?