Contest and conflict in urban public space: A critical review of the literature on street trading in the urban informal sector

B.E Solomon-Ayeh and I. Decardi-Nelson


Street trading has become an almost ubiquitous feature of the urban landscape in many developing countries and street traders are one of the most visible occupational groups. Many legitimate interests claim city space and urban authorities seek to organize space in order to create beautiful cities. Consequently, there is always tension between urban authorities and street traders all over the world.  The overall goal of this paper is to provide a review of the literature on street trading especially in developing countries and to develop an understanding of how the urban poor use public urban space as a livelihood asset.

This review examines the urban informal sector and street trading and also the use of urban public space and the locational decisions of street traders. The information from the review is used to examine how urban planners and policy makers address street trading. The paper concludes by identifying the gaps in the literature on street trading and recommends that more research be undertaken in those areas.

Contact Us

The Director, 
Building & Road Research Institute, 
University P. O. Box 40, 
Kumasi, Ghana

Telephone: +233-032-206-0064