57 Maxwell Mutanda, Studio D Tale / Zimbabwe CROSSROADS, 2015 Crossroads seeks to design low-cost sustainable solutions for roadside vendors by emphasising access to clean water, sanitary considerations and renewable energy. The ‘vulnerable economy’ or informal sector is very important to people living in the Global South. In Zimbabwe this trade accounts for close to 46% of the economy. However the built environment where this trade takes place is often a result of the resourcefulness of people rather than the careful consideration of urban planners or architects. At most road intersections in Africa one is likely to buy credit for one’s mobile phone, the day’s newspapers, shoes, vegetables or even furniture. These small stalls define African cities in the same way that convenience store like 7eleven or large stores such as Tesco, Walmart and Carrefour do elsewhere. The project leverages the skills of these traders – who usually construct their own stalls – allowing them to continue to create their own spaces. It is not unusual to find semi-skilled labourers and artisans operating from roadside markets. At this crossroads a cobbler working in the suburb Hatfield repairs men’s and women’s shoes for known clients and passers-by. Freddy is a married father of two. He is physically disabled and commutes from his home in Msasa Park to sell confectionary in a market near Harare’s main train station. Freddy’s mainly sells mobile telephone airtime vouchers and individually wrapped bonbons and candies. He also sells loose cigarettes that he will light up for customers with a box of matches he keeps on hand. This new unit allows him to sell and display more goods.
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