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Negotiating Livelihoods and Rights in Contested Urban Space: Politics of Street Trading in Mumbai

This project addresses the challenge of informal urbanism with a particular focus on the ways in which forms of street trading work in relation to gender, politics, and types in public space.

Street trading cannot be simply wished away as it plays a key role in the informal economy across rapidly urbanising cities of the Global South by providing employment opportunities and generating income for the urban poor. In this project, informal street trading is considered as by no means marginal, but rather integral to how many cities work.

Exploring the prospects for change and its impacts on the ways in which forms of street trading generate livelihoods relies on a sophisticated understanding of how rights to access and appropriate public space play out in relation to gender, politics and urban governance.

This is a multidisciplinary research project focusing on informal economies and forms of street trading in cities of the Global South. This research raises questions about the practices of formalisation and politics of everyday negotiation and resistance. This is particularly at stake in Indian cities where the aftermath of the Street Vendors Act 2014 is yet to be investigated.

In collaboration with the in-country partner, Dr Debdulal Saha, the project engages with the dynamics of street trading in Mumbai and explores the synergies and contradictions among multiple agents in public space.


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    Dr Hesam Kamalipour

    Senior Lecturer in Urban Design

  • Nastaran Peimani

    Dr Nastaran Peimani

    Senior Lecturer in Urban Design
    Co-Director of MA Urban Design

  • Dr Debdulal Saha

    Dr Debdulal Saha

    Centre for Labour Studies and Social Protection, School of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSSH) Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India


This research was made possible through the support of the following organisations: