There are more than 10,000 street vendors in New York City who sell everything from hot dogs to sunglasses, art to handbags.

But selling things from a table or cart isn’t as simple as it seems. Vendors are fined $1000 for small violations, like parking their cart more than 18” from the curb, and many vendors don’t know their rights when approached by police. The rulebook is intimidating and hard to understand by anyone, let alone someone whose first language isn’t English.

Vendor Power!: A Guide to Street Vending in New York City addresses these problems by translating the most commonly violated rules into accessible diagrams and multiple languages, including English, Bengali, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. The brochure also includes personal stories from vendors, history, fun facts, and policy reform recommendations. Thousands of copies were distributed to street vendors for free so they can understand their rights, avoid fines, and earn an honest living.

Managed by the Center for Urban Pedagogy, whose Making Policy Public program pairs designers with advocacy groups to make policy information more accessible. Designed by Candy Chang for The Street Vendor Project.

Buy it for $6 here!

Featured in The New York Times, Communication Arts, TYPO, and the 2010 National Design Triennial by the Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

Street Vendor Guide
Street Vendor Guide

Street Vendor Guide

Street Vendor Guide





The team: Sean Basinski, Rosten Woo, John Mangin, and Candy Chang

Sean shows us tickets from street vendors – mostly for parking their cart too far from the curb, parking on restricted streets, parking too close to a storefront, and not “conspicuously” wearing their license

Typical page from current regulation book. Snap!

Hanging out with street vendors like Munnu to understand their experiences

Meeting with street vendors to get feedback on drafts of the guide

John, Sean, and Candy with a near-final draft




Four photos above by CUP from the distribution event
And an interesting quote Sean recently found from 1905:

“I think it would be a great advantage to all the peddlers to have a translated copy of the license issued. As it is, some of the Italians cannot understand the regulations of the road and the ordinances of the City. If it were printed in English… in Yiddish… in Greek, Italian and Syrian for the others it would prove to be a great aid to them.”
– Rev. Bernardino Polizzo, 1905, during a hearing on the pushcart menace

30 flash cards that translate New York’s official Tenants’ Rights Guide into a fun and friendly format. A collaboration with Tenants & Neighbors thanks to a grant from Sappi Ideas That Matter.

A website for an online publication by the Architectural League that showcases design innovation, critical analysis, and local expertise related to New York City’s physical environment.

An interactive public art project inviting residents to share information about their housing costs through fill-in-the-blank notes. Part of the Windows Brooklyn exhibit.

Street art that encourages self-evaluation in transit by posing questions on the sidewalks with temporary spray-chalk.

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