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Making of Re-Vendor Charoenkrung 32

เผยแพร่เมื่อ a year ago

Re-Vendor Charoenkrung 32

Building (a) a venue of Street Food That Is ‘NICE’ For Everyone

Street food is not only just a charm and the life of Bangkok that attracts gastronomes and food-lovers from all around the world, but it is also a budget food for people who roam the streets. Despite all being said about street food, there has been a debate on the management of vending areas, vendors, customers and people who walk by and the debate on waste management and hygiene that affects consumers and the city. Creative Economy Agency (CEA) came up with a street food management experimental model to find integrated solutions to street food management and area limitations. The model, located in the creative economy district of soi Charoenkrung 32, is created in collaboration with Cloud-floor (an architecture company that prioritizes public space and urban environment), International Program in Communication Design (Faculty of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University) and the Department of Environmental Engineering (Faculty of Engineering, Kasetsart University).

Cloud-floor co-founder, Fuse Nataphong Phatthanakosai, revealed the beginning of this project. “CEA originated this project as they see how their employees’ daily meal revolves around soi Charoenkrung 32, nearby the CEA office. They feel the urge to invent a street food management system that aims for a better food ecosystem in terms of hygiene, area management, urban scenery and communication between local vendors in the community. This model could potentially be improved, rescaled and applied to other areas as well. To assess what could be improved about street vendors, we ask stakeholders from the government sectors, municipal offices, vendors, CommDe architect students and consumers from CEA to proceed with a discussion together. I posed a question about whether the culture of street food should be maintained and cared for in Bangkok. Most stakeholders agreed that it should , as street foods are considered a resource of accessible and affordable food. The question is how do we make street food work within the specific context of that area.”


“Soi Charoenkrung 32 is a dead-end alley. The number of people walking through is not considered very high. Most people come by for lunch or go through the alley as a shortcut to other areas within Charoenkrung. The context of this dead-end street canteen is different from those of the main street footpath where lots of people walk by. Unlike the dead-end alley, the conflict that usually arises in the main street is that pedestrians should be the priority and the vendors being the second one ”  Fuse further explained the condition of the area.

Thought-Provoking and Inspiring Case Study From Around the World

“If people still want to have street food around, let’s take a look at a case study that might help promote the area. Soi Charoenkrung 32 couldn’t follow the case of Hawker Centres in Singapore as we do not have any private adjacent areas that could regulate the renting system for street vendors. Theoretically, we have to find alternatives in the nearby area. If it is too far from the previous Soi Charoenkrung 32, consumers might find it too inconvenient and vendors could feel that their businesses have become too uncertain and at risk of losing potential customers.”

“Next one is a case from Taiwan. To regulate the traffic for commuters of all modes, they decide to move vendors from the main street to the alley or the secondary street during the nighttime instead. We feel like this could be adapted to Bangkok during the transition where the government is searching for areas to build the next Hawker Centers which would take 1-3 years in relocating all vendors into the specific given area.”


“The third solution from Korea relies on design and management. Korean street food vendors sell their food in a tent-like stall called “Pojangmacha”. The government has set up a clear concrete policy on the categories, color code and location of street vendors. The PVC shield cover can be pulled down from the stall during the winter and can be pulled up in the summer. Street vendors are obligated to register with the government system , so they can be tracked and receive training about environmental knowledge and concerns about public space before they conduct their usual businesses.”


Applying the model to the context of the area

“Our team is interested in Korea’s model because it is similar to what Thai vendors have been practicing. The knock-down tent-like stalls are common to find and maintain. Furthermore, the PVC shield sheets the Korean used for the winter can be used to cover the stalls and keep the area organized. The issue that we prioritize is communication because, according to vendors, the Thai government’s regulation has been quite vague. New vendors learn the regulation from their peers and that sometimes causes miscommunication and inaccuracy. So, we have designed a “Street Vendors Handbook” that provides details, agreements and practices for vendors in the city. The content includes hygiene practices, waste sorting methods and a how-to on tidying up the stalls to improve urban scenery.”


Hygiene Practices and The Promotion of Charoenkrung 32 Street Food Identity

“Next thing is the hygienic practices in the area. The problem we found was that most vendors clean up their dishwashing by pouring waste water out onto the street without proper sewage disposal. We introduced waste sorting and management to both vendors and consumers so that the vendors do not have to take all the responsibility alone. The grease traps and the food waste strainers are installed to prevent pipe blockage. Other issues are about physical spaces such as umbrellas or tents, common agreements and boundaries for vendors , so cars are still able to pass through the area.”


“Lastly, it is service improvement and the promotion of the local street food identity by using design to help vendors carry out their businesses better such as providing English menu translation, obvious queuing spots and decoration that help highlight the unique identity of soi Charoenkrung 32. With the help of CommDe architecture students, the walls around and the graphics on the PVC shield sheets are designed to present the only local identity of the area.”


What Re-Vendor Charoenjrung 32 has done during the Bangkok Design Week 2023 is just the first phase of a small experimental project under the limitation of time and budget. The first phase aims for area management and setting common grounds and boundaries for vendors on how to keep their stalls organized. Grease traps are also installed for nine vendors. One common washing space is determined and shared by vendors. Waste sorting has been brought into the practices of both the vendors and buyers which works out well. Many vendors reported that the project helps improve the street food culture as people are more content with their stalls getting cleaner and nicer. The municipality office in charge of the area has planned a policy to help with street food management. This may be marked as the beginning of how creativity has elevated and improved the environment and the community’s condition towards the Urban ‘NICE’ zation where street vendors are in harmony with the urban scenery and life.

Bangkok Design Week 2023



4 – 12 FEB 2023