sidewalk laboratory


This photograph, which is featured in Ho Chi Minh City’s international airport, showcases sidewalk vendors and yet one of the rationales for clearing sidewalk vendors is supposedly to respond to international tourism demand. SLAB aims to contribute to the still-forming social discourse about how to view sidewalk vending by providing research and alternative proposals. We were surprised to find in our analysis of over 400 self-reported observations from international tourists that there was little variation in what was seen as positive and negative about their visit to the city, regardless of whether they were from North America, Europe, or Northeast Asia. Engaging with the food and people of the city’s sidewalk life was one of their most enjoyable experiences.