Food trucks! Fruit carts? Planning for an equitable street vending era in U.S. Cities
In the 2010s, a food truck craze hit cities across the U.S. In response to new or “gourmet” food trucks, cities have revisited mobile food vendor regulations. Food truck operators have organized successfully for more favorable ordinances and they have received significant public support. Nevertheless, food trucks are only type of street vending, working alongside markets and sidewalk vending. Not all vendors have received the same levels of support, however, and the food truck debates are far from over. This raises important questions: Will the new food truck movement enable more street commerce? Or will it privilege some vendors over others and reinforce inequitable patterns of opportunity? The attention to food trucks has created an opportunity to revisit how U.S. cities regulate and plan for street commerce. This presentation will discuss the contemporary debates in U.S. cities over vending ordinances and two street vending research projects that offer insight into planning for a new—and more just—era for street vendors.
Renia Ehrenfeucht is a Professor and the Director of Community & Regional Planning at the University of New Mexico. She investigates the politics of public space use, asking how everyday interactions and institutions shape people’s opportunities in diverse, urban environments. She also focuses on shrinking cities, examining how cities and urban residents respond to population loss. Her publications include Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation in Public Space and numerous journal articles. She earned a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA.