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Sidewalk CityRemapping Public Space in Ho Chi Minh City$
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Annette Miae Kim

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226119229

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226119366.001.0001

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Drawing New Lines on the Pavement

Drawing New Lines on the Pavement

Street Vendors and Property Rights in Public Space

(p.150) 5 Drawing New Lines on the Pavement
Sidewalk City

Annette Miae Kim

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the most controversial issue about sidewalks in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and in many cities around the globe: street vending. Legal scholars agree that property rights theory should provide insight but that its application to public spaces is under-developed. The chapter posits that the role and rules of public space are currently being actively contested and re-written given rapid immigration and the developmental objectives to become a “world class city.” This chapter reviews the policies and campaigns by the Vietnamese government to regulate the sidewalk. It also analyses public opinion and debates circulating in current media and social narratives as well as interviews with local police and 270 street vendors. It outlines and critically reviews the battling narratives and counter-narratives about sidewalk clearance and the legitimacy of street vendors to use public space. The chapter emphasizes the importance of street-level state actors who are embedded in local society and their negotiation with neighborhood members in constructing the actual practice of rights to public space. This chapter raises the need to ground general and a-physical scholarly conceptions of “rights to the city” in order to realize real property rights to public property.

Keywords:   property rights, Vietnam, public space, immigration, street vending, regulation, narrative, public opinion, media, police

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