Yesterday, Wednesday the 15th of May 2019, Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) conducted a Community Survey Meeting on the newly launched Inclusive Cities Planning Project. The project is a twelve-month initiative that is being implemented in collaboration with Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA). The overall goal of this project is to institute inclusive city planning and designing processes through strengthening the supply side at local government level and ensuring inclusive mutual beneficial engagement in finding lasting solutions to challenges bedeviling the informal economy.
A total of 33 informal traders (14 males, 19 females, 16 youth) attended the Community Survey Meeting and expressed their different varying views of what an ‘Inclusive City’ would look like. The participants also managed to sketch rough ideas of their dream market stalls or vending sites with all the amenities they would require, including but not limited to solar panels (renewable energy), clean water, ablution facilities, recycling of refuse, storage and other security features.
The sketches of the Inclusive City designs were done after they had deliberated on the services that are lacking in their current operating spaces/vending sites. It was further highlighted that the informal traders lack security and safety in their current vending sites because most of their trading zones with access to profitable markets are deemed ‘illegal trading/vending sites’. This often leaves the street vendors prone to harassment, victimization, corruption and extortion. VISET envisages a mutually beneficial relationship between the informal traders and local authorities. In this regard, an Inclusive City Design will help the informal traders to protect their sources of livelihoods while also respecting everyone’s right to the city.
The Baseline Survey is going to inform the follow up activities for the Inclusive Cities Project which include the construction of a model traders’ market that promotes inclusivity and co-creation both at a micro and macro levels.
Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)