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Street vending on Addis Ababa’s sidewalks: A sign of vibrancy and identity or a nuisance for pedestrians?


Year published: 2022
Categories: Journal Article

Author / Authors:

  • Mintesnot Woldeamanuel
  • Nardos Abebe
  • Faith Supangkat


Journal of Urban Affairs, DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2021.2014764


Street vendors contribute to the unique identity and vibrancy of cities influencing the social, economic, and cultural landscape. Often, street vendors conduct their informal businesses on the sidewalks, which are meant to be used by pedestrians. This leads to a conflict in public space use and a question of whether street vendors are contributing to the vibrancy of a city or creating a nuisance to pedestrians. This research, based on a survey of 819 pedestrians in Addis Ababa city, discusses walking experience of pedestrians in the presence of intensive street vending activities on the sidewalk. The survey includes questions about the comfort and safety of pedestrians while walking on the sidewalk with the presence of street vendors. 49.3% of surveyed pedestrians thought that mobile street vendors impeded their ability to walk without difficulty on the sidewalk. 77.8% of those surveyed felt great discomfort as street vendors took up too much space on the sidewalk. 66.3% of respondents felt unsafe around street vendors during the day while 67.3% felt safe at night when the volume of street vending is reduced. This highlights that while street vendors have significant socioeconomic and cultural benefits, if their presence on the street is beyond the critical mass, they draw a feeling of discomfort for pedestrians more than creating liveliness for the city.


  • Journal Article