The Multi-Threaded Processes of Chinese Street Vending and their Spatio-Temporal Meanings for Walkability

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

Abstract

In light of the multiple benefits of walking (e.g. public health, social indifference, air pollution, and misdirected investment), improving walkability is becoming increasingly significant among architects, urban designers and public health researchers. In contemporary Chinese cities, street vendors are a common feature of many neighbourhoods, frequently occupying specific space where many people regularly walk. As such, the pervasive phenomenon of street vending appears to have a close association with the walkability of public spaces. However, street vendors, as undesirable populations sometimes, have always been part of informal business practices and are generally self-organised, which directly confronts the hegemonic power of the Chinese government in many ways. Due to street vending being produced by multiple forces (e.g. bottom-up spatio-tactics) of various ordinary lives (e.g. livelihoods of weak populations and demands of nearby residents), a desire for social harmony at a state level impels local governments to seek alternatives that mitigate collective resistance. The spatio-temporary meaning of street vending (i.e. urban conflicts, multiple forces, demands of everyday life, local cultures and habits, as well as individualised, varied, adaptable and flexible tactics) elaborates why street vendors produce and/ or trace a specific walkable space as a set of co-existent relations. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to unfold why street vending does emerge and which actors or associations retain the phenomenon. It proposes a space-population-force triangulation to redefine three characteristics of street vending (i.e. a transient public space, a particular pattern of governance and ambiguous order, and a space created by or for populations). Using actor-network theory as a conceptual tool and a novel methodology of selection-analysis-combination, this paper seeks to unfold additional knowledge to why walkability and how specific walkable spaces are produced in the Chinese context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRIBA President’s Awards for Research 2017 - Book of Abstracts
PublisherRIBA Publishing
Pages42
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)9781859468500
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017
EventRIBA President's Awards for Research 2017 -
Duration: 12 May 201712 May 2017

Publication series

NameRIBA Presidents Awards for Research 2017 - Book of Abstracts
PublisherRIBA Publishing

Other

OtherRIBA President's Awards for Research 2017
Period12/05/1712/05/17

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