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Research Article

Street food as infrastructure: consumer mobility, vendor removability and food security in Mexico City

Pages 98-111
Published online: 04 Feb 2021


Street food vendors are a ubiquitous but controversial feature of Mexico City’s foodscapes; in the context of urban renewal and modernization projects, vendors are frequently portrayed as backwards, dirty, and undesirable and are targeted for removal. While most studies of such processes focus on the implications for vendors themselves, this article asks about the implications of street vendor removal and removability for those who consume these foods on a regular basis. The article adopts a mobilities framework in order to argue that street food needs to be understood in relation to consumers’ everyday mobilities as part of poor and working class people’s food security, and as an urban infrastructure more broadly.


Research for this paper was generously funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the American Council for Learned Societies/Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Tinker Foundation. A version of this paper was presented at the CityFood Conference in New York City in December 2018. Many thanks to Angela Giglia, Guido Herzovich, Erick Serna Luna, Veronica Crossa, Miriam Bertran Vilá, and to the participants of the CityFood network for useful comments and feedback.

Disclosure statement

No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.

Additional information


This work was supported by the American Council of Learned Societies [N/A]; National Science Foundation [1426870]; Wenner-Gren Foundation [N/A].

Notes on contributors

Tiana Bakić Hayden

Tiana Bakić Hayden is a research professor in the department of urban studies in El Colegio de México in Mexico City, and an anthropologist by training. Her work is concerned with the interplay of political, sociocultural and technological factors in the production and (in)formal regulation of urban food systems. She has conducted research in Mexico City and Buenos Aires on street food markets, wholesale food terminals, and food security.

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