Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Street Bazaar

In addition to the central marketplace, we also have the Informal sector or the Street Bazaar. This is made up of small enterprises that happen on every street in the town. These are the hawkers that occupy corner junctions and almost all our footpaths. It is interesting to look at the pattern that emerges out of these small units scattered all over and serving the needs of the entire city in no small measure.

Almost always, the business activity stretches beyond the stall onto the open space available just outside. Either a wooden counter or table is pulled out every morning when the shop opens or a raised platform in concrete exists that serves as an extension to the stall. So, the space requirement for the business activity is very flexible and always more than the 6’-0”x 6’-0” kiosk.

The random growth of small businesses can create unhygienic conditions for the public due to the lack of proper drainage facilities and thus increase the health problems of the city. The footpath is not anymore just a circulation space; it also becomes a business or commercial space.

It helps if the municipal authorities survey well the physical aspects of already existing petty trades such as spatial requirements, low-cost construction materials, and the unconventional servicing and infrastructural facilities in use. In the end, the designed space and shelter must be priced correctly.

For a Municipal authority to be able to administer the city well, it must know more about :

  • What kind of petty trades exist
  • How does the city’s sanitation or traffic (both pedestrian and vehicular) get affected with an increase in the number of petty traders.
  • Which locations are preferred for what kind of trade
  • What distances are people willing to walk to reach a kiosk
  • Government schemes that aid them or that are a deterrent in their development

No comments: