Women Informal Garment Traders in Taveta Road, Nairobi: From the Margins to the Center
This article investigates the Taveta Road phenomenon, whereby women garment informal traders occupy a whole street in the central business district in Nairobi, Kenya. It also discusses the implications for urban planning of the presence of women informal traders in the central business district. The article demonstrates that the ability of these traders to move from the margins into the heart of the city is based on their ability to cross borders, organize collectively, and develop entrepreneurial skills that make use of social networks, group agency, and personal initiative. It also illustrates that over time, their gradual encroachment has led to an acceptance of their presence and their integration into the urban economy. These developments—which are referred to as “subaltern urbanism” or “solidarity entrepreneurialism”—have far-reaching implications in terms of the traders’ relationship with the city, state laws, and the national economy.