Street vendors are a cultural icon and have a long history in the cities of Mainland China (abbreviated as China henceforth). However, with the development and modernization of Chinese cities, the relationship between street vendors and city managers has become increasingly tense and delicate, and conflicts between vendors and urban management are occurring at an increasing rate. This paper intends to illustrate the irreplaceability of the street markets and identify a solution for street vendors to thrive in tandem with modernization through research and design.

In many large Chinese cities, the number of food vendors has been insufficient to support the increasing urbanization, and a large proportion of food consumption has shifted to supermarkets as traditional street markets have been banned. This article briefly introduces several major types of food consumption locations in Chinese cities and finds that the street market plays an important role in cities. However, street markets have their own problems, including polluting the environment and creating congestion. Also, as a semi-urbanized group, most street vendors rarely enjoy the same rights and interests as other people in the cities because of the ‘Hukou’ household registration system and other cultural differences.

These vendors are marginalized in urban life and guaranteeing their rights and benefits is problematic. In contrast, although Hong Kong and Taiwan share many culture aspects with China, there exists a level of respect and tacit understanding that allows street vendors to thrive, and many prefer to purchase food at street markets instead of supermarkets because of the unique atmosphere that they provide.

This paper also discusses the Chinese urban garbage disposal system and explores possible solutions to remedy the primary issues of pollution facing street markets in China. Through the investigation of Chinese consumers' perceptions of street markets, this paper concludes that people in fact enjoy street markets and believe that street markets can provide convenience and unique value. They welcome standardized street markets.

Finally, this paper proposes the idea of standardizing the implementation of the street market; from rules, to promotion as a brand, to designing worktable for aquatic products vendors. The product can help aquatic product vendors maintain environmental sanitation and achieve harmonious coexistence within the city.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Vending stands--China--Design; Markets--China--Design; Street vendors--China--Social conditions; Refuse and refuse disposal--China--Planning

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Industrial Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CAD)


Timothy Wood

Advisor/Committee Member

Stan Rickel


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes