Working in Warwick, by Richard Dobson and Caroline Skinner with Jillian Nicholson, offers a fresh look at street traders’ lives, the role they play in city life and their contribution to its economy. It shows that it is possible to include street trading in urban plans in a way that adds to the vitality and attraction of cities. This is not a common perception of street trading or of urban planning, which makes the book all the more significant.
Warwick is a vibrant street trading area situated in the primary transport hub in South Africa’s east coast city of Durban. This is the context for the book: here, a small dedicated team of local authority officials, street traders and their leaders worked for over a decade tackling seemingly insurmountable urban management and design challenges. It is hoped that this account of the transformation of Warwick will inspire other local authorities and planners as they deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by the informal economy.