After the 1997 Financial Crisis: The Behavior and Implications of a New Cohort of Street Vendors
Organizers: FASS Cities Cluster and ARI Asian Urbanisms Cluster
Date and Time: April 3, 2012, from 3-5pm
Chair: Dr Maureen Hickey
Venue: Executive Seminar Room, AS7 level 1-07
About the Talk
The 1997 financial crisis seriously damaged the Thai economy. Rather than return to provincial homes, many retrenched workers remained in Bangkok putting their training and business experience to use, establishing informal sector businesses, offering new products, such as own-brand designer goods and using more formal business models. By contrast, the traditional “old generation” street vendors specialized in food, primarily selling to low-income customers, and focused on volume.
The hypothesis was that the “new generation” street vendors, given their greater sophistication, would be more organized, strong advocates of vendors’ rights, and more prone to conflict with authorities. However, research based on interviews with “new” and “old generation” vendors led to the opposite conclusion. The “new generation” vendors are adaptive to location and business strategies and prefer a low profile in dealing with officialdom. By contrast, the “old generation” vendors are more tied to particular spaces and better organized; they expect more from government and this often results in conflict with authorities. This raises policy questions concerning whether urban public spaces should reject or retain street vending business, how to respond to its needs and conditions and what role bureaucratic bodies should play in relation to urban planning and policies towards street vendors.
About the Speaker
Dr Chuthatip Maneepong is a Visitor to the Cities Research Cluster, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NUS this semester. She was Assistant Professor at the School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University, and in the School of Technology at Shinawatra University in Thailand, and continues to teach / undertake research at both institutions. She has a strong history of professional practice including nine years as a Senior Policy and Planning Analyst in the Thai National Planning Board (NESDB) and six years as External Monitor of community-based environmental projects in Southeast Asia for the Canadian International Development Agency. Her research interests, reflected in her publications, are: the Informal Vendor Development Trajectory; Community Adaptation in the Face of Risk, Particularly Sea Level Rise; Community Based Delivery of Environmental Services; and Cross-Border Economic Cooperation in the Greater Mekong Subregion.