Informal Economy

Two sanitation workers wearing yellow and green vests workin in trash dump in developing country.

How the Informal Economy Can Build Resilience

Building sustainable, equitable cities of the future, must take into account the important and often overlooked tasks performed by informal workers.

October 4, 2023 - International Institute for Environment and Development

Close-up of rows of clear plastic cups filled with cut fruit on outdoor street vendor table

D.C. Passes New Street Vending Rules

The District’s new regulations lower permit fees, reduce barriers to entry for vendors, and decriminalize vending offenses.

August 24, 2023 - Next City

Kogi Los Angeles

Food Trucks on Demand

Move over, ride-hailing companies. Food trucks have been responding to demand in neighborhoods.

February 17, 2021 - Washington City Paper

Mediterranean food cart in Portland

Dallas City Council Will Consider Food Carts

As the pandemic leaves restaurants and food businesses struggling to make ends meet, the Dallas City Council will evaluate a proposal legalizing detached food carts.

January 28, 2021 - The Dallas Observer


Is the End of Bangkok Street Food Vending Near?

Street food vendors are an integral part of the Bangkok urban landscape, but city planners want to see them gone.

December 19, 2019 - The New York Times

Food Carts

Unleashing the Food Vendors in New York

Newly proposed legislation in the New York State Senate would bar cities from setting limits on the number of food vendors operating in the public realm.

November 5, 2019 - New York Post

Street Vendors

Food Cart Vendors Struggle to Keep a Foothold Around Philly Development

Food cart vendors are fighting for their livelihood in a neighborhood in Philadelphia, against the long legislative reach of a local developer.

October 30, 2019 - WHYY


New on Netflix: How Street Vendors Create Vibrant Cities

Street vending has been a contentious issue in many places, but this part of the informal economy is important to the social and economic well-being of cities.

May 28, 2019 - CityLab

Chicago Informal Economy

State Supreme Court Upholds Food Truck Regulations in Chicago

A question of whose business is suppressing whose in the city of Chicago was decided by the State Supreme Court.

May 24, 2019 - Chicago Tribune

Street Food

Los Angeles Approves Sidewalk Vending Ordinance

The new ordinance brings long-awaited legal legitimacy to sidewalk vending in Los Angeles.

November 28, 2018 - Streetsblog LA

New Apps for Discovering Street Food

Apps that improve city living and quality of life in cities are coming to the market seemingly every day. That's fine: it would be impossible to have too many apps for exploring options in street food.

April 9, 2016 - The City Fix

Chicago's Food Carts Now Street Legal

An estimated 1,500 food carts were operating in the city of Chicago—mostly outside the law. The Chicago City Council this week passed a law that allows legitimate operations.

September 25, 2015 - Crain's Chicago Business

Elysian Valley Home

Residents Want a Say as Los Angeles Neighborhood Changes

The big market forces of Los Angeles long ignored Elysian Valley, colloquially called Frogtown. But now the neighborhood has hip cachet and residents are organizing to have a say as the area changes.

June 15, 2015 - Los Angeles Review of Books

Formalizing Street Vending: A Los Angeles Case Study

The ongoing efforts to reform street vending laws in Los Angeles gained national media attention recently. Can local officials find a way to overcome controversy and complexity to legalize street vending this year?

January 30, 2015 - Salon

Shadow Transnationalism and Planning

The Chester Rapkin award goes to University of Oregon's Gerardo Sandoval for work on the impact of transnational communities and planning.

November 20, 2014 - JPER

Another Call for the Legalization of Los Angeles Street Vendors

Mark Vallianatos outlines the legal history and vehemently supports Los Angeles' estimated 10,000 street vendors selling everything from fruits to frozen treats.

October 16, 2014 - The Los Angeles Times

How Cities Miss the 'World Class' Mark

A recent article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review blog argues that instead of chasing gleaming skyscrapers, planners in developing cities should build a new model of the "world class" city.

April 18, 2014 - Stanford Social Innovation Review

How the Internet is Helping Cities in the Western World to Loosen Up

While cities in the developing world embrace the chaos and risk inherent in their informal landscapes, the Western world excels at regulation. But this dynamic is starting to change, to the dismay of incumbent industries and establishment regulators.

June 26, 2013 - Next City

Street Vendors: Supporters or Spoilers of Public Space?

Ethan Kent, Enrique Penalosa, and Jonathan Crush offer contrasting perspectives on the effect of informal street vending on public spaces.

April 2, 2013 - Next City

Rich Seedlings for the Urban Revolution

Over the next few decades, half of global economic growth is predicted to come from the slums of developing world cities. Gaia Vince believes the key to the coming urban revolution is how these shantytowns evolve.

January 16, 2013 - BBC

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Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.