Street Vending and the Use of Urban Public Space in Kumasi, Ghana


In many cities all over the world, urban public space has become the place of work of the urban poor. This paper seeks to examine how street vendors use public space for their livelihood and the response by the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly to control street vending. The research was carried out in the Kumasi metropolis, a nodal commercial centre, with proliferation of street vending activities. The study employed a variety of research methodologies in gathering the data, including personal observation, focus group discussions and a field survey with a sample of 517 street traders. The findings show that the modus operandi of street vendors induces impulse buying and that has been one main catalyst for the sustenance of the sector despite official efforts in relocating them. It was also revealed that the decision of street vendors regarding locations in which they operate was mainly influenced by the attraction of customers, and so regardless of the number of times the street vendors are evicted from their location by the city authorities, they would still remain on the streets and open spaces. This paper proposes that the spatial dynamics of the activity in the urban informal sector should be understood and the space needs of street traders must be considered in urban planning. It is recommended that the activity is accommodated adequately in the urban spatial environment and that the use of public space by street vendors is addressed in urban planni.



Solomon-Ayeh, Bettie Emefa
King, Rudith Sylvana(Research Institutes / Centre , Senior Research Fellow,, 0322060308) 
Decardi-Nelson, Isaac


Place of publication : 

Article published in The Ghana Surveyor Volume 4, No. 1, 2011

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