Spatial and institutional factors affecting integration of street vending in the urban economy of Kisumu city, Kenya
OLANG’O, Jacob Onyango
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Most cities in developing countries are experiencing rapid urban population growth and unsustainable urban development as more people move to cities. This has made people turn to urban informal sector for livelihoods, a precedence that has resulted in rapid growth of informal employment. In Kenya the formal sector creates less than 25% of new jobs while informal sector creates 75% of new jobs. Despite the informal sector being a livelihood to many Kenyans, the progress towards implementing supporting policies and the laws have been slow and lacking in some areas creating bottle necks for growth of the sector. This study hypothesis that providing the informal sector with adequate legal and institutional support similar to the formal sector would integrate it better in the urban economy and allow it to perform optimally. The main objective of the study is to examine the spatial and institutional factors affecting integration of street vendors into the urban economy of Kisumu City. The specific objectives were; to establish how spatial factors affect integration of street vending into the Urban Economy of Kisumu City; to determine the legal and institutional factors that affect the operations of street vending; to establish public perception of street vending in Kisumu City. A sample of 405 was drawn from a population of 2,146 street vendors and the 27 owners of formal businesses. Data was collected using questionnaires, focus group discussion, interviews and analyzed using descriptive statistics. The study established that all vendors used spaces designated for other users and creating land use conflicts. The types of conflicts created include security risks, business competition, congesting pavement and generation of solid waste. Some of the conflicts can be solved but some land uses are simply not compatible with street vending. The study also established that the policy environment is favorable for growth of the informal sector but there are many legal and institutional provisions that have not been acted on. Specifically the Urban Areas and Cities Act No. 13 of 2011 and County Government Act 2012 have provisions that if acted on can ensure that the informal sector is included in the city land use plans. The study concludes that land use conflict created by the street vendors in Kisumu City can to a large extent be resolved to pave way for integration and allocation of spaces for vending that can be done by including the informal sector in the city plannig processess.The study recomends replaning of the city based on inovative planning approaches such as multifunctonal land use planning which have potential for expanding land use on any given space to accommodate more diversity and higher densities such as is manifested in the informal setor.