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Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social JusticeFrom Loncheras to Lobsta Love$
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Julian Agyeman, Caitlin Matthews, and Hannah Sobel

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036573

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036573.001.0001

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Decriminalize Street Vending: Reform and Social Justice

Decriminalize Street Vending: Reform and Social Justice

(p.47) 3 Decriminalize Street Vending: Reform and Social Justice
Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice

Kathleen Dunn

The MIT Press

This chapter outlines how race- and class-based stratification and criminalization shape New York City’s street vending industry. The vast majority of New York’s street vendors are first generation immigrants of color who experience racial profiling for turning urban public space into their workplace. Since the Great Recession, a small but growing class of native-born and highly educated actors have been able to enter this profoundly criminalized industry with comparative ease largely due to class and race privileges, spurring gentrification through the city’s underground food permit rental market. The author argues that any meaningful reform of New York’s broken system of street vending oversight must directly engage these inequities and work to decriminalize poor and working class street vendors of color through a participatory and inclusive process rooted in principles of social justice.

Keywords:   Criminalization, Stratification, Public Space, Labor, Gentrification

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