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Street Vendors

D.C.’s Street Vendor Regulations Formalize The Informal

Informality often makes something beautiful. A rapper freestyling. A jazz musician improvising. A drag queen lip-syncing. Their organic, in-the-moment, uncodified nature is a huge reason they captivate and excite. Street vending is supposed to be the informal version of commerce. In this country, lawmakers and law enforcement have made attempts to codify street vending, and usually it gets pretty ugly, pretty quickly. Maybe this summer in Washington, D.C. will be the start of something different. After years of street vendor-led organizing, earlier this year D.C. Council Members unanimously passed legislation overhauling the District’s street vendor regulations.

Informal Workers Have The Tools To Build Better Cities Post-Crisis

On November 2020, New York City street vendors from the Street Vendor Project marched over the iconic Brooklyn Bridge in force – food carts, multilingual signs and musical instruments in hand – to call city hall to action. Eight months had passed since the COVID-19 pandemic devastated their livelihoods, and they had received no relief. While the city took multiple measures to provide a lifeline to storefront businesses, vendors received no dedicated small business support. Instead, many continued to receive summonses and fines from a punitive enforcement regime. Struggling vendors were left to make ends meet supporting each other through mutual aid. Their patience was gone, and their proposal was simple: the city should decriminalize vending, lift the arbitrary, 38-year-old cap on...
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