The Urbanism of Los Angeles Street Vending


Kenny Cupers | in: Street Vending in the Neoliberal City: A Global Perspective on the Practices and Policies of a Marginalized Economy, edited by Now Ha and Kristina Graaff, 2015

Street vending is an omnipresent feature of the urban landscape of Los Angeles. It takes place on the city’s sidewalks, in parks, and at squares, but also at highway intersections, on parking lots, in leftover spaces, and in privately owned spaces like outdoor mall plazas. What makes this practice understandable as a specific form of urbanism is vendors’ creative ability to move through the city. This chapter argues that street vending in Los Angeles is both premised on a specific culture of (auto)mobility and transforms this culture. The mobile practices of street vending inform both the regime of illegalization and vendors’ ability to tackle constraints of social class, foreignness, and racism in the city.