Regulating Vending in the Sidewalk Commons
46 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2008
Date Written: June 1, 2004
Selling goods and services from the public sidewalk is becoming increasingly common - and controversial - in communities across the country. Through a street-level examination of vending in Los Angeles, California, where it flourishes despite being largely forbidden, I argue that sidewalk vending should be broadly legalized. The examination of vending also yields lessons concerning the relationship between private property and open access public property in general. Allowing use of open access public property, like the sidewalk, will not necessarily result in either the under-use of adjacent private property, or the over-use of public property. In other words, Garrett Hardin's "tragedy of the commons" may be avoided.
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