«Contesting the streets Volume 18, number 1 • 2016 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development | Office of Policy Development and Research ...»
Pointing to the data collection efforts of the U.S. National Security Agency as an example, Sassen warned that strong political interests exist to reduce or eliminate systemic indeterminacy and suggested that these efforts put the city and urban places at significant risk.
Capitalizing on bringing together these three distinguished scholars, we invited them to engage in a moderated public dialogue together. The keynote addresses and the dialogue conversation are available on line.3 The symposium section of this issue of Cityscape publishes 6 articles from the 10 original research papers presented at the conference. In many of our discussions of the papers, we returned to the importance of legislation and the entitlements conferred by the law that affect the legitimacy of street vending. Renia Ehrenfeucht critically examines three central underlying philosophies behind vending ordinances and regulations by examining cases from Albuquerque, New Mexico; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Chicago, Illinois. First, she argues that the notion of adjacent properties needing to be protected from street vendors and their customers belies the fact that they can often play complementary roles. Second, she disputes the notion that protection from pedestrian congestion is a reasonable justification for regulation by presenting evidence that street vending and walking can be compatible. Third, she argues that a drive to create explicit regulations that formally enable vending can result in complex laws that actually increase the difficulty of vending.
She argues that a new approach to oversight—one that emphasizes community and participatory planning over regulation—would benefit all parties and increase welfare (Ehrenfeucht, 2016).
Sally Roever reviews some of the surprising global legal and policy developments that have increased the right to vend. Through rich qualitative and quantitative analysis across five countries, her article suggests that low-level harassment, merchandise confiscations, and periodic evictions emerge when ambiguous rules govern the economic right to use public spaces (Roever, 2016). It then documents developments in three case cities (Ahmedabad, India; Durban, South Africa; and Lima, Peru), where street vendors have contested their right to use public spaces for trading, and points to coordination among vendors as a necessary condition for successfully achieving a legal right to trade.
Vendor organizations are also the central focus in the article by Chia Yang Weng and Annette M.
Kim, which explores two Taiwanese cases of vendor relocation from an informal street space into a formal public market. One effort was successful and the other failed even though, on the surface, the projects were similar. The article compares the two cases to understand the elements that result in relocation success (Weng and Kim, 2016). The authors find that a street vendor organization plays a critical role during the relocation process by reducing a multiagent dynamic game into a bilateral relationship in which negotiation and planning to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes can be more straightforward. The organization, however, needs to be incentivized and allowed the flexibility to capitalize on the new space, akin to the American shopping mall model.
John Taylor and Lily Song, who examine the experiences with relocating street vendors from the street to purpose-built public markets in three Indonesian cities (Jogya, Solo, and Jakarta), consider additional criteria. Most of the relocation initiatives they study failed, and the authors point to three reasons for those failures. First, relocation efforts placed too much emphasis on aesthetics rather than commercial infrastructure. Second, relocation processes failed to prepare vendors for free-market competition, resulting in their not being competitive in more formal settings. Finally, http://slab.today/2015/09/contesting-the-streets-2/.
longer-term relocation planning and management failed to consider the emerging and fluid needs of vendors. They argue that a critical element is ongoing coordination and collaboration between governmental authorities and the vendor community (Taylor and Song, 2016).
Enforcement of laws and regulations is the focus of the article by Kathryn A. Carroll, Sean Basinski, and Alfonso Morales, which examines the often-overlooked issue of the public enforcement costs of fining vendors and highlights the fact that the levying of a fine does not always result in payment of the fine. Using data on citations given to vendors in New York City, New York, during 2010, the authors explore the violation-specific and situational factors associated with default in payment (Carroll, Basinski, and Morales, 2016). Key findings are that default is less likely when the violation pertains to a clear statute that is not subject to multiple interpretations and when the fine amount is lower. The authors argue that lawmakers and enforcement agencies should consider these facts to ensure that the prevailing regulatory structure is as efficient as possible.
In the final article, Robert Baird, David C. Sloane, Gabriel N. Stover, and Gwendolyn Flynn bring a novel lens to the appropriate use of public space by analyzing food vending’s role in the larger public health effort to combat childhood obesity and make healthy cities. This study is a health impact analysis of a policy in Los Angeles banning all sidewalk vending in the context of poor public health among school-age children. Through empirical analysis, the authors find that the vending prohibitions are not significantly limiting access of students to vendors (Baird et al., 2016). They argue that vendors offer needed food services in poorer neighborhoods and neighborhoods where informal enterprises are culturally familiar and that a focus on food offerings in restaurants and convenience stores will be important if health improvements are to be observed.
Although some readers might interpret these articles as favoring vendors (or advocates of vendors) in the contest for urban space, we believe that a careful reading of the research reveals a pragmatic and investigative position: vending is a global, widespread phenomenon that needs to be practically governed. This position makes no judgment on the specific location of that activity or the types of governance interventions. For example, several articles focus on vendor relocation efforts—programs to take vendors off the streets and place them in purpose-built commercial buildings—which implies that such efforts would be acceptable if done in a way that preserves vendor viability. Indeed, no article suggests that there is no role for regulation and oversight or that vendors should be able to operate wherever and whenever they wish. Rather, as editors, we pushed all the articles to seek evidence-based improvements to regulations that make them more practically enforceable, welfare maximizing, and politically inclusive. Overall, the orientation of the body of research presented here is that communities should find ways to incorporate the persistent employment and entrepreneurial energy of vendors and the benefits they can bring to consumers, civic life, and government.
At the end of the second day of the Contesting the Streets II conference, we concluded with a dynamic discussion among keynote speakers, authors, and discussants that included government officials, nongovernmental organizations, and activists. Two overarching observations emerged.
One observation is that a significant shift is occurring. Somehow, in the modern global liquid economy, the vendor now figures in the city not only physically but in the public imagination more than before. Unlike the derision of vendors in the first historic wave of urbanization at the turn
CityscapeBostic, Kim, and Valenzuela
of the 20th century in the western world (Loukaitou-Sideris and Ehrenfeucht, 2009), many cities now highlight vending as an amenity in the visioning of a vibrant city, like kiosks in a shopping mall, a “vending urbanism.” Vendors are now part of our leading and ascendant global cities.
Combined with recent landmark changes in law and policy in some cities in both the global north and south, we wonder if a new global norm is developing akin to how bulldozing squatter settlements is now generally politically untenable around the globe. The growing legal challenges, policy evolutions, and popular narratives appear to be entertaining street vendor rights to livelihood in public space. Engaging in government programs, policies, and research on this topic is therefore even more critical.
The second observation is that, as cities have been densifying, spatial contestation in practice regarding race and immigration has also been increasing. One’s race, class, and legal status significantly determine the range of activities and liberties that one seeks and can practice in public space. The issue of vending has to be understood amidst many of these larger thorny social debates. In the United States, the national discussions sparked by the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Black Lives Matter movement have raised the issues of the criminalization of the poor in public space and whether we have criminalized too much conduct. Instead of discussing optimal regulations in a color-blind and class-blind way, our discussions about regulatory design need to directly consider how they ameliorate or exacerbate this basic social problem.
We are grateful for the enthusiasm of all the participants and audience members of our conference.
Many inquiries suggested we organize a third Contesting the Streets conference. If such a meeting should convene in the future, we hope that we would be able to report significant progress in both governance systems and the imaginations of an inclusive and vibrant public space.
Acknowledgments The guest editors thank the University of Southern California (USC) Spatial Analysis Lab supporters Dennis and Brooks Holt; USC Sol Price School of Public Policy Dean Jack Knott; the USC Judith and John Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise; the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) César E. Chávez Department for Chicana/o Studies; UCLA Dean Alessandro Duranti, Division of Social Sciences; and the UCLA Center for the Study of Urban Poverty for their sponsorship of Contesting the Streets II. The editors also thank the USC Price School of Public Policy for providing facilities and video support for the conference, Bedrosian Center staff members Aubrey Hicks and Donnajean Ward for administration and logistics support, and the many student volunteers who made this endeavor possible.
The guest editors also acknowledge and thank the following keynote speakers, moderators, research paper presenters, and discussants for their contribution to the conference.
Lissette Aliaga-Linares, assistant professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Nebraska at Omaha (presenter).
Tridib Banerjee, James Irvine Chair in Urban and Regional Planning, Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC (discussant).
Margaret Crawford, Professor of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley (keynote speaker).
Nicole Esparza, assistant professor and Director of Graduate Programs in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC (discussant).
Rudy Espinoza, Executive Director, Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (moderator).
LeighAnna Hidalgo, doctoral student, César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies, UCLA (presenter).
Gregg Kettles, attorney at law and former deputy counsel for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (discussant).
Martin Krieger, professor, Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC (discussant).
Jessica Lockrem, doctoral student, Department of Anthropology, Rice University (presenter).
Darshini Mahadevia, Dean, Faculty of Planning, and member, Centre for Urban Equity, CEPT University, India (presenter).
Nithya Raman, founder of Transparent Chennai (discussant).
Ananya Roy, professor and Meyer and Renee Luskin Chair in Inequality and Democracy and Director, Institute on Inequality and Democracy, UCLA (keynote speaker).
Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chair, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University (keynote speaker).
Guest Editors Raphael W. Bostic is Judith and John Bedrosian Chair, professor, and Director of the Judith and John Bedrosian Center for Governance and the Public Enterprise at the University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy.
Annette M. Kim is an associate professor and Director of the Spatial Analysis Lab at the University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy.
Abel Valenzuela, Jr., is a professor of urban planning and Chicano studies and Chair of the César E.
Chávez Department for Chicana/o Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
References Baird, Robert, David C. Sloane, Gabriel N. Stover, and Gwendolyn Flynn. 2016. “A Step Toward a Healthier South Los Angeles: Improving Student Food Options Through Healthy Sidewalk Vendor Legalization,” Cityscape 18 (1): 109–122.
Carroll, Kathryn A., Sean Basinski, and Alfonso Morales. 2016. “Fining the Hand That Feeds You:
Situational and Violation-Specific Factors Influencing New York City Street Vendor Default in Payment,” Cityscape 18 (1): 89–107.
Cross, John C. 2000. “Street Vendors, Modernity and Postmodernity: Conflict and Compromise in the Global Economy,” The International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 20 (1/2): 29–51.
Ehrenfeucht, Renia. 2016. “Designing Fair and Effective Street Vending Policy: It’s Time for a New Approach,” Cityscape 18 (1): 11–26.
Guha-Khasnobis, Basudeb, Ravi Kanbur, and Elinor Ostrom. 2006. Linking the Formal and Informal Economy: Concepts and Policies. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kim, Annette M. 2015. Sidewalk City: Remapping Public Space in Ho Chi Minh City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Loukaitou-Sideris, Anastasia, and Renia Ehrenfeucht. 2009. Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation Over Public Space. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Peñalver, Eduardo M., and Sonia K. Katyal. 2009. Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.