Bangkok’s Mobile Street Vending: Beyond Food and Beyond Quaint Practices. A Talk by Kisnaphol Wattanawanyoo



Street vending, or street trading, is categorized as a form of urban informality, found in various parts of Bangkok, fulfilling the incomplete gap of urban services and providing a wide range of street food, goods and disparate services, at reasonable prices. Despite their contribution, street vendors are viewed by the State/local authority and urban élites as unwanted, disordered and chaotic urban elements. This talk will firstly provide an overview of my personal interests in the practice of street vending and will then revolve around my accumulated observations on the mobile street vending practices over the last five years. I will also share some of my PhD research in relation to the practice of “mobile markets” in Bangkok. The first part of this talk will introduce the various forms/typologies of mobile street-vending, as well as their common features and characteristics. The next part will discuss instances of mobile markets, their emergence, everyday practices and trading operation/organization, as well as their creative way of city-making. The third part will highlight some overlooked aspects/dimensions that go beyond food and beyond quaint practices, such as social, environmental and political considerations. Finally, some suggestions and recommendations towards urban policy and urban management will be proposed, to make Bangkok function efficiently and able to sustain the city’s bustling and lively atmosphere.

Mr. Kisnaphol Wattanawanyoo trained as an architect, received his Master’s degree from Silpakorn University and a BA degree from King Mongkut’s University of Technology in Thonburi (KMUTT), where he has been teaching since 2005 in Architecture Programs. He is a PhD candidate at The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London (UCL), UK. His research interests centre on urban informality, the urban practices of everyday life and also planning theories in relation to informal urbanism and urban complexity. Aj. Kisnaphol is also involved in a number of community activism projects. He is a co-founder of Commonbooks Publishing, a small independent publishing house.

Date: Thursday, 2 August 2018
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

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The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2017-2018 Lecture Series.