TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 81-90.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003098

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Effect and Challenge of the Street Hawkers’ Authorized Vending Sites: A Case Study of Yuanxi Community, Liwan District, Guangzhou

Fan Shitong, Li Lixun and Fu Tianlan   

  1. (School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China)
  • Received:2018-10-20 Revised:2018-12-12 Online:2019-01-05 Published:2019-01-05


The Guangzhou government established 120 authorized vending sites to formalize the activities of street hawkers by 2015. However, many authorized vending sites in Guangzhou have been recently removed and this policy faces some challenges. This report adopts a qualitative research method based on observations, questionnaire surveys, and interviews during the period of February to May 2016, to analyze the background and content of the spatial drainage policies. By considering the street hawkers’ authorized vending site in the Yuanxi community, Guangzhou as a case study, this investigation attempts to explore the effects of the spatial drainage policy on the street hawkers, customers, formal retailers, residents and urban management officers in the community. The study also analyzes the challenges faced by the spatial drainage policies and the developed solutions. It is shown that the spatial drainage policy was initiated by the Guangzhou government to facilitate the regulation of the activities of street hawkers during the past several years. The spatial drainage policy takes more stakeholders into consideration and the designation of authorized vending sites has many positive effects. Firstly, these sites exert a positive spatial effect on the street hawkers by providing a legal space for these individuals to conduct business transactions. It also has an impact on the spatial distribution of the street hawkers and the community retailing system in the Yuanxi Community. Secondly, the authorized vending site has a positive social effect on the street hawkers. The legalization of their business space helps them to improve their self-identity. Moreover, the business and spatial regulation of the authorized vending site helps to improve the efficiency of urban administration and law enforcement while minimizing conflicts between street hawkers and the urban management officers. The Yuanxi authorized vending sites also satisfy more customers from surrounding areas by providing cheaper goods and better shopping conditions. Nevertheless, these vending sites have some negative effects. The noise associated with these designated vending areas affect the daily lives of nearby residents. Moreover, the removal of the Yuanxi authorized vending sites has been requested given the temporary permission of the land use and the upgrading of the community. Although the removal of these sites can improve the living quality in the Yuanxi community, this will be accompanied by a loss of the legal and stable business space of the street hawkers. As a result, these individuals will have to conduct transactions in other public space in the Yuanxi community, which will lead to disorder in the community and a new burden on the urban manage officers. The case of the Yuanxi community demonstrates that the spatial drainage policy failed in its objective to transform the activities of street hawkers into a formally organized business because the authorized vending sites occupy community public space. The legal business space for street hawkers will face challenges when different stakeholders fail to reach an agreement on the land use of these authorized vending sites. The results of this study suggest that the government should organize a third institution and establish a communication system among different stakeholders of authorized vending sites, which can improve the planning and management of these areas.

Key words: street hawkers, vending sites, informal sectors, formalization, Liwan District, Guangzhou