Vulnerability and coping mechanism: A case study of informal (tea) stalls in public places of Dhaka city.

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Submission Summary
The focus of the research, which started with an endeavor to understand infraordinary spaces— tea stalls, as a condition and catalyst for social coexistence took a shift especially after the drastic impact of the unprecedented situation—Covid-19 lockdown, on the life and livelihoods of the research community. While here, the tea stall has been placed as the most widely existing type of street food stalls– Dhaka’s streets, like most other South Asian countries, are lined with all kinds of food stalls operated by vendors carrying different degrees of informality. Despite having a significant role in building the socio-cultural landscape, these stalls were found to be extremely vulnerable to various forces which eventually project threats to their livelihoods and existence. Amidst the pandemic, the vulnerability of such spaces and the vendors surfaced as an alarming phenomenon that needed to be addressed immediately to mitigate further economic and health risks of this large number of people involved in this sector. Therefore, by understanding different degrees of vulnerability, the research aims to identify the assets the vendors have at their disposal to ameliorate the vulnerability from a ‘community strengthening’ vantage point. The research found that the livelihoods of the vendors are politicized by various actors which eventually turns the public spaces into a contested area. The hierarchical relation with these actors does not only create a barrier to community bonding but also affects the asset management of the vendors and makes them prone to economic vulnerability. The paper also recommends immediate measures, both spatial and operational, to slow down the poverty slide of these marginalized people due to the lockdown. Drawing upon the findings, the researcher proposes an ‘iceberg model of vulnerability’ to understand the underlying vulnerabilities of the research community and also to track down the gaps prevailing at the institutional level for egalitarian and inclusive policies. Keywords: informality, street vendors, vulnerability, coping mechanism, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Submission ID :
ISO121
Submission Type
Submission Track
1: Inclusiveness and empowerment. Al-Majlis: planning with and for communities
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graduate
,
Stuttgart University

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