Contributed by: C. Aparnaa
The presence of vendors in public spaces are ubiquitous to Indian cities. For instance, in the context of Ahmedabad, these economic activities often define the characteristics of the public space. In a small neighbourhood of Chandkheda near New C.G. Road, there is a daily vegetable market that functions from 8 am to 9 pm. The vendors occupy and adhere to the unpaved and undesignated street edge. This market occupies the street edge abutting a walled vacant land that sits between commercial buildings and residential societies in the vicinity, acting as a prime spot for vending. With time, a pani puri vendor setup his stall, taking the opportunity of the location and the established market. He buys produce from the same vegetable market and other ingredients like curd from the shop on the other side of the same street. People often buy vegetables, visit the pani puri stall and go home or vice versa. Besides this came about vendors who sell novelty items, also taking advantage of the existing market and prime location for customers. These vendors use the vacant land to park their vehicles after unloading of their produce, sit under the shade of 2-3 trees that are present for having lunch and resting during the afternoon and to throw away vegetable remains. In the evening, cow owners come with their cows to this space for feeding on the vegetable remains. There are benches setup by the pani puri vendor and some seating areas that the residents of the neighbourhood access for their evening meetings. The street is now recognized as the ‘sabzi mandi road’, that has also induced other economic and social activities on the street edges and and in the abutting vacant lands.
Location: Near Sona Cross Road, Chandkheda, Ahmedabad. Picture Credit: C. Aparnaa
How does your neighbourhood’s street or public space facilitate interdependencies between economic activities and the social life of public spaces?