The street food market, to be or not to be? A study of different groups´ interest dialog behind informal urban space

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Street food market was the major business form in Shanghai, in which food, vegetables and fruits are sold. But by the end of twentieth Century, after the government management is centralized and moved indoors, the street market within urban area mostly disappeared. But before long, street food markets of all sizes came into being again, creating a typical irregular space in Shanghai. Especially in the bustling city center, there are still many street food markets despite of the prohibition. This phenomenon is attracting more and more attention from media and public. Why can the street market exist in a contradictory status messy, traffic impacting but full of vitality and natural livelihood? Why is the street market loved by some on one hand, and is despised by others simultaneously on the other hand? Whether the government should extinct the street market or let it be? This paper selects Taiwan Road food market, located in the East Nanjing Road Commercial District in the city center, as an example, focusing on the interests of the game behind the street food market. First, the market’s physical space is surveyed, and the interrelationship among the location background and surrounding facilities is sorted out; secondly, the social association inside the market is emphasized and analyzed. Through interviews with the four types of people related to the market from interest aspect----customers, vegetable vendors, residents and management, the links between these people and the street market is analyzed. Furthermore, their attitude towards the market and its consequence is analyzed as well, to deduct the source reason for why the street market never extinct. Through combing the benefit gaming between these four types of people, the necessity and positive influence of urban irregular space represented by street market is pointed out. Meanwhile, facing the negative urban influence brought by the street market, suggestions are made for the future development of the city street food market.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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