Working in Warwick: Including Street Traders in Urban Plans was recently launched by authors Richard Dobson and Caroline Skinner (Programme Director, Urban Policies, WIEGO).
The book documents the lessons learned from the Warwick Junction Project, an inner city renewal initiative which sensitively integrated street traders into the cityscape.
Working in Warwick offers a fresh look at street traders’ lives, the role they play in city life and their contribution to the economy. It contains practical examples and aims to inspire other local authorities and planners in their dealings with the informal economy. It is a picture heavy book that in addition hopes to ‘re-imagine’ the informal economy in the minds of the public at large. Assisted by Jillian Nicholson, the book is the first product of this work.
Dennis Gilbert, well known architectural photographer, contributes photos that beautifully capture the spirit of Warwick Junction. The book launch coincided with the launch of an exhibition of Dennis’ photographs. Photographs have subsequently been donated to the Gallery so other state galleries, both in South Africa but also internationally, can request the exhibition.
In January 2009, the Durban city council announced that it planned to build a shopping mall in Warwick Junction – a major reversal of their previously progressive approach. As a result, the livelihoods of most of the 8000 street traders who operate in the area have been put in peril. The book and exhibition was thus launched at a very opportune moment. The launch acted as a call to the city to rethink these plans. Partly due to the controversy the launch was very well supported with over 350 people attending. The launch was opened by Chris Bonner, on behalf of WIEGO, Khabazele Mkhize and Professor Keith Hart.