International Development Planning Review

Contested urban spaces: the rationalities of (local and national) government and street vendors’ spatial claims in Kitwe, Zambia

International Development Planning Review Ahead of print, 1–22.


The presence of street vendors on central city streets often raises questions over the use of these spaces. This paper addresses this issue through studying the practices of government, vendors and a vendors’ association in Kitwe, Zambia. Drawing largely on primary research collected between 2013 and 2018, this paper aims to understand a shift in the governing of street vending, from tolerating vendors on central city streets to banning them from these spaces in 2017. This paper unravels the rationalities of national and local government to understand this shift, and examines why certain spaces and groups of vendors were governed differently. In addition, studying the practices of street vendors and their associations showed that vendors’ individual and collective acts granted some of them renewed access to the studied urban spaces.

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Author details

Jongh, Lennert