Theses Master's

Spatial Pattern of Street Vendors: A Case Study of Central Manhattan

Liu, Zheyu

There is always a lack of quantitative analysis of the spatial distribution of informal economy due to very limited data available (Hays-Mitchell, 1994; Qadri, 2016). However, as a critical part of the informal economy, street vendors play a crucial role in the urban environment and citizens’ daily lives. This research paper explores the spatial patterns of street vendors and the spatial relationship between formal retailers in the central part of Manhattan by using several geospatial statistic methods including Location Quotient, M-function and kernel density analysis. Spatial data of street vendors and formal retailers comes from two open sources: Google Street View and OpenStreetMap respectively.

We find that compared with formal retailers, informal street vendors show a higher level of agglomeration effect and that the intensity increases as the scale becomes smaller. There is no evidence showing that co-clustering effects exist between street vendors and formal retailers belonging to the same category, though it is not the case for industries such as fresh food groceries. Moreover, street vendors and formal stores display significant differences in their spatial patterns areawide.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Freeman, Lance M.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 13, 2020