Regulating Peddlers and Street Food: A Comparison of Chicago (USA), Montpellier (France), Ha Noi (Viet Nam) and Bangkok (Thailand)

Authors: Daniel Block*, Chicago State University, Coline Perrin, INRAE-UMR Innovation, Montpellier, Carmen Dreysse, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, Philippine Dupé, AgroParisTech, Gwenn Pulliat, CNRS, ART-Dev, Michaël Bruckert, CIRAD, UMR INNOVATION, Hanoï, Laura Nussbaum-Barberena, Roosevelt University, Christophe Soulard, INRAE-UMR Innovation, Montpellier
Topics: Food Systems, Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: food systems, regulation, street food
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 31
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The StreetFood project is a cross-national comparison of the regulatory history, current geography and culture, and links to production of street food in Chicago, Montpellier, Bangkok, and Ha Noi. This presentation focuses on preliminary results comparing the history of food peddling, outdoor markets, and street food in Chicago, Montpellier, Ha Noi and Bangkok. In all four communities, the presence and activities of food vendors on the streets have been contested in terms of what kinds of people and products may be sold, as well as at what times and where. This study relies on archival material, newspapers, and current-day research and interviews to compare the evolution of street food regulation in these four cities. Results indicate that all four cities, at different times, have tried to balance the need for relatively inexpensive and easily accessible food with the desires of the city government to control traffic and the kinds of people and activities present on the streets. The question of whether street food is thought of as healthy or unhealthy, dirty or clean, hip and modern or backward, and the amount of consideration given to street peddling as an entrepreneurial activity, also varies over time and space. Through this, we discuss social outcomes (in terms of equity or inequity) that may arise from these regulations, and how street food may contribute to a more just food system.

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