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Inclusive urban development? Making space for street vending in Hanoi, Vietnam

In Hanoi, Vietnam, street vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables are a familiar and long-established characteristic of the city. They are an integral part of the city’s fruit and vegetable distribution network, supplying a significant proportion of all vegetables consumed in Hanoi. They also tend to be the main earners in their own households, maintaining a living for thousands of families. However, informal street trading has become increasingly difficult for city officials to manage, with vendors perceived as causing obstructions to traffic and a threat to environmental hygiene. Legislation introduced recently to address these problems has caused a decrease in street vendor numbers, and traders face the daily threat of arrest, fines and confiscation of their property. Without legitimate places to trade, many keep on the move and risk being hurt or killed in traffic.

As well as reporting on the vital role played by Hanoi’s street vendors through a census and indepth interviews, this paper documents a model of street trading which successfully integrates the vendors into the city environment, benefiting traders, customers and local residents alike. Through meetings with stakeholders, including staff from the Department of Trade and Industry, the authors recommend practical steps that could replicate this success across every ward in Hanoi.

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Nguyen Thi Tan Loc, Le Nhu Thinh, Hoang Viet Anh, Le Thi Ha, Paule Moustier(2013)Street vending activities in Hanoi. IIED, London