The street as workspace: assessing street vendors’ rights to trees in Hyderabad, India

Basu, Sukanya and Nagendra, Harini (2020) The street as workspace: assessing street vendors’ rights to trees in Hyderabad, India. Landscape and Urban Planning, 199. pp. 1-7. ISSN 0169-2046

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Urban street trees provide critical ecosystem services such as shade and contribute to the health and well-being of urban residents - especially those who spend much of the day outdoors. Our paper focusses on one of the most vulnerable groups in a city: street vendors, who spend much of their time on streets, with or without trees. Most contemporary visions for green cities ignore street vendors and fail to consider their uses and expectations of public green spaces. Drawing from in-depth interviews with 75 street vendors in 11 market streets in the hot Indian city of Hyderabad, we discuss their perceptions of the importance of trees for their daily work and livelihood and describe the challenges that street vendors face in accessing shade in a hot city. In several instances, “development” of urban areas has led to gentrification, with the felling of trees and displacement of street vendors, bringing into question their ‘right to the city’. We argue that street vendors are largely left out of considerations of urban ecological planning, despite being one of the groups most affected by the availability of wooded streets in cities. Ecologists, urban researchers, planners and landscape designers must explicitly consider greening strategies from the perspective of street vendors for inclusive, sustainable urban development.

Item Type: Article
Authors: Basu, Sukanya and Nagendra, Harini
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ecosystem services, Street vendors, Trees, Street trees, Hyderabad,
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Life sciences; biology > Ecology
Divisions: Azim Premji University > Research Centre > Centre for Urban Ecological Sustainability
Azim Premji University > School of Development
Full Text Status: Restricted
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