Informal traders and planners in the regeneration of historic city centres: the case of Quito, Ecuador

Informal traders and planners in the regeneration of historic city centres: the case of Quito, Ecuador

Progress in Planning 59 (2003) 71–123 www.elsevier.com/locate/pplann Informal traders and planners in the regeneration of historic city centres: the ...

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Progress in Planning 59 (2003) 71–123 www.elsevier.com/locate/pplann

Informal traders and planners in the regeneration of historic city centres: the case of Quito, Ecuador Alan Middleton Faculty of the Built Environment, Institute for Sustainable Urban and Regional Regeneration, University of Central England, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2SU, UK

Abstract A major reason for the regeneration of historic city centres in developing countries is the possibility of benefiting from the growing mobility of international tourists. In this competitive global market place, a particular perspective on history and culture is being sold. It is a perspective that celebrates buildings and ignores a history of conflictive social relations. A modern expression of these social relations is the conflict which exists between planners and street traders, whose presence is seen to be inimical to tourism development. This paper investigates the relations between planners and street traders in Quito, in the context of the history of the city as a contested space and where the physical and socio-economic structures are related to cultural conflicts which are deeply embedded. The paper argues that these conflicts can only be resolved, and international tourism can only be successfully developed, if planners recognise the role of the history of their ideas in the process. After providing a brief discussion of the historical context for modern planning in Quito, it explores the recent proposals for the revitalisation of the historic centre of Quito by examining the physical structure of the city centre and the place of informal traders within it; the social, economic and organisational structure of informal trade; and the cultural relations which act as a barrier to the resolution of differences over the future of tourism and street trading. Finally, some proposals for the modernisation of planner – trader relations are discussed. q 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

E-mail address: [email protected] (A. Middleton). 0305-9006/03/$ - see front matter q 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 0 3 0 5 - 9 0 0 6 ( 0 2 ) 0 0 0 6 1 - 2

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CHAPTER 1 Introduction This paper seeks to trace and analyse the relationship between informal traders and planners in the era of globalisation. It locates the relationship in the context of the renovation of an historic city centre in the developing world, namely Quito, Ecuador. As cities compete for global tourism, their history and heritage, as expressed in the squares, churches, cathedrals, museums and streets, are presented as their ‘unique selling points’. However, the history of a city brings more than its physical manifestations to the global market place. It also brings people, whose culture may have been formed or distorted by the same economic history that enabled the construction of monuments. For many of the indigenous populations of Latin America, for example, the grand houses, churches and museums are expressions of a colonial repression, which their ancestors suffered at the hands of an European elite. In colonial centres such as those of Quito and Lima, all the powers of the Spanish Crown and economy were concentrated in the hands of a few and “the magnificent architecture of their convents, churches and works of art were testimony to this concentration of power and wealth” (Dias, 2001: 348). The historic buildings, monuments and spaces of heritage places bear a distinctive imprint of human history that is connected to developing cultures, societies and economies (Tunbridge, 1994: 123; Herbert, 1995: 9). In heritage tourism, ‘particular representations’ of history are provided for the tourist, (Hall, 1994: 180). Colonial history can be a distorted history, the tale that is told for tourist consumption may be remembered differently by those who experienced the real thing (Boniface and Fowler, 1993: 5), and wherever a reality is defined for the tourist by a particular local group, it is not difficult to find another group who is displeased or offended by the representation or what is missed out (Schouten, 1995: 24). As a result, tourism is a continuation of politics, an integral part of the world’s political economy (Hall, 1994: 2) and, as Tunbridge (1994: 123) points out, “the political implications of culturally selective identification, interpretation, conservation and marketing of the inherited built environment are profound and potentially deadly”. Heritage tourism also reaches into the present. Tourism policy is an expression of values in a struggle for power that redefines social relations, transforms the cultural and historical life of communities and transforms the place itself (Hall, 1994: 178). There is, however, unwillingness on the part of decision-makers to acknowledge the political nature of tourism. In Latin America, the recognition and promotion of heritage has political implications of which colonization and subjugation are unambiguously part (Prentice, 1993: 30); and if we ask the question “whose heritage?” it is because the social, cultural and economic divisions of the past have resonance in the present. Colonial relations of production and exchange have changed over time, but they find a modern expression in the lives of many of the people who live and work in the streets that the tourists wish to enjoy. As social relations are redefined, “Local elites may well identify with the consumerist lifestyle of international tourists rather than with the aspirations of their own people” (Crick, 1989: 323) and planners have a role to play in the resolution of any resulting conflict. Heritage consumption can also have a negative effect on human enterprise. “The growth of heritage culture has led not only to a distortion of the past, but to a stifling of

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the culture of the present” (Hewison, 1987: 10). International tourism’s potential as a dollar earner encourages city officials to support elite interpretations of history and heritage. There is a perception amongst the planners and other city administrators that those people whose livelihoods depends on the continuing economic vitality of the streets and who are important for local systems of exchange, are a barrier to the modernisation of the historic city centre and to its economic regeneration. Street traders, in particular, are seen to create the congestion, rubbish and insecurity which sends tourists elsewhere. They cut off access to the beautiful buildings and monuments of the colonial past. In the same way as indigenous populations were seen to be the major obstacle to development by the elites across Latin America in the 19th century (Guerrero, 1997) and the earlier part of the 20th century (Clark, 1998; Garrand-Burnett, 2000), the street traders are identified as the main barrier to the modernisation and development of the city. In this discourse, the enterprise of the traders and their contribution to the local and national economy are discounted. The urban landscape is invested with a variety of meanings and purposes and it is “transformed by social, political and economic conflicts between different social groups with different claims on the city” (Yeoh, 1996: 9 –10; see also Jones and Varley, 1994: 28). When planners and traders confront each other over the use of space in Third World cities, they bring not only their interests but also their own cultures to the negotiating table. In many cases, these cultures have common indigenous roots. However, city planners and informal traders have different ways of perceiving the history of the relationship between them, based on their particular interpretations of this historical experience. As we shall see in this paper, these ways of seeing the city and ways of behaving can appear to be irreconcilable. Rooted in a history of conflict that goes back over a century, they can result in ‘non-dialogue’ and a planning solution that favours force over reason. The conflicts between planners and traders are not irresolvable. However, city governments and police often resort to the use of force to achieve their aims. In Mexico City, where city officials have been trying to eradicate street trading since the 1740s, they have been providing them with enclosed markets since the 1950s. By 1966, they had built almost 200 markets, but the authorities could not enforce their own laws. By the mid1990s, there were still estimated to be 200 000 street traders in the centre of the city (Cross, 1995; Drabrowski, 1999) and the efforts to remove the traders were reinvigorated. Despite these efforts, however, when a new left-wing Mayor was elected in 1997 he was forced to place a high priority on dealing with the situation and he adopted a policy of decentralisation to control the traders at a local level (Drabrowski, 1999). There is no firm evidence as yet to whether this has been any more successful than previous attempts at control. In Lima, the city council forcibly removed the street traders from the city centre in 1997 with the support of the National Police, after a good deal of unsuccessful negotiations. Some of the traders agreed that they would move into new markets outside the city centre, but the Mayor, who was elected on a promise of “order, cleanliness, security and the recuperation of the Historic Centre” (Dias, 2001: 351) removed the majority both by the use of force and, having demonstrated his willingness to use it in street battles lasting a month, by the threat of force. Caracas and Bogota´ have also seen a similar use of the law and repression. In Samarinda, in Indonesia, on the other hand,

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the government approached the same problem by providing technical assistance to traders and by helping them to consolidate their organisations through the creation of cooperatives, which provided social as well as economic benefits (Herrera and Cordova, 1998). To the extent that force is used, the impact on tourism is, of course, extremely negative. Tourism requires political stability, for tourists are dissuaded from travelling because of conflict. After an astonishing growth in tourism in Sri Lanka between 1966 and 1982, for example, the number of foreign visitors fell by more than 50% between 1982 and 1987 following ethnic violence that ‘shattered the image of Sri Lanka as a tourist paradise’ (Crick, 1992: 135). There is also evidence that political instability in one country in a region, such as the Andean region, can have an impact on tourism in other countries in the area (Richter, 1992). It is suggested, for example, that the violence associated with the Shining Path in Peru may have had an impact on neighbouring countries because of the importance of the regional circuit of Andean tourism (Pearce, 1989; Chant, 1992: 87)—to the extent that it may have eased tourist pressure on the Galapagos Islands. Conflict will of course have a far greater impact in the country in which it is located and when, in July 1990, an Indian uprising was blocking the roads of the Andean region of Ecuador, closing the urban markets and demanding that the authorities meet them in these market places to hear their demands (Guerrero, 1997: 555), this would not have enhanced the prospects of tourism in Quito. More importantly for the case of Quito, tourism can be a factor in generating political and civil instability. To the extent that this leads to civil strife, such as when the street traders of Quito took over the City’s council offices in 1997 in order to get the Mayor to listen to their demands,1 it becomes clear that tourism policies which are based on the forced eviction of traders from the streets can be highly counter-productive. If city councils do not chose a non-violent route to the solution of conflicting demands on the use of space in historic city centres, they will contribute to a perception of instability which keeps tourists away. As Inokeep (1991) argues, the sustainability of tourism depends on how well planning is embedded in the specific characteristics of an area’s economy and society, as well as its environment (see also Wahab, 1997). A city council’s capacity to negotiate with traders, rather than resort to force, is partly conditioned by the differences in cultures and interests that the actors bring to the dialogue. In order to find a resolution to the apparent conflicting demands of traders and tourists, it is important to understand the historical specificity of the city, not only in terms of the monuments which the tourists wish to see and which the traders often obscure from their view, but also in terms of the social and cultural relations of power and exchange. Planners and other city administrators have an important role to play in the historical development of these relations and for the resolution of modern conflicts it is essential that they confront their own history and acknowledge that planners have a professional culture that sometimes does not lend itself to peaceful conflict resolution. In this paper, through a discussion of a concrete case, we will analyse the historical role of planning in the city of Quito and the planning culture that has evolved from this 1

The author was held ‘hostage’ during this occupation, along with several municipal officers, providing an opportunity for in-depth discussion with several leaders of the street traders.

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historical experience. We will then go on to set out the more recent planning issues which the metropolitan city council has been grappling with, in particular, the issue of what to do with the street traders in the context of a remodelling project which is oriented towards the world tourist market. Using a structuralist perspective, the paper describes and analyses the relations between the physical structure, socio-economic relationships and cultural perspectives. We will then analyse what has happened with different proposals for resolving the contradictions between street traders and city planners through the period of recent Christian Democratic domination of city politics, before concluding with some of the options and issues facing an incoming democratic socialist administration.

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CHAPTER 2 The historical context for modern planning in Quito Formal urban planning in Ecuador has emerged and developed within the past 50 years. However, the physical context for the relationship between planners and traders goes back more than 170 years and the social, economic and cultural roots of the relationship extend back to the colonial times which heritage tourism wishes to celebrate. The colonial economy was based on the forced labour and debt bondage of the indigenous population. Church finances depended heavily on the ‘super-exploitation’ of indigenous labour in both agriculture and pre-capitalist textile factories, using debt peonage and Mita labour. Spanish academics euphemistically defined the Mita as a work allocation drawn by lots in the indigenous community to provide the inhabitants with necessary public works (Perez, 1947). However, Ulloa and Ulloa (1918) provided an alternative description: An annual conscription through which an increasing number of men, born and reputed to be free, are dragged away from their towns and factories, over distances of over 100 leagues, and forced to carry out injurious work in the mines, factories and other violent exercises, from which hardly one tenth part survive to return home. In short, it was a mechanism of forced labour to which indigenous persons between the age of 18 and 50 were subjected and which the church used to accumulate its wealth. In 1822, independence from Spain was declared in the interest of ‘free trade’ but it has been argued that the Sierran elite joined with the Coastal exporters for other reasons. The South American struggle for independence started in Quito in 1802, where ‘freedom’ meant the freedom to exploit the Sierran indigenous populations in the interest of local accumulation without payment to or interference from the Spanish Crown (Mejia, 1975). Debt peonage, enforceable by imprisonment, continued to operate after the Liberal Revolution of 1895, it was not finally legally abolished until 1918, and it could be found in the rural areas of Ecuadorian Sierra in the 1970s. The physical growth of Quito took place in the context of this history of repression. Throughout the 19th century, Quito developed as a centre of informal trade and artisanal activities, but its population of less than 45 000 had its roots in the rural areas (Kingman, 1992: 129). When the first municipal council was set up in 1830, it was a city cut off from the world, strongly influenced by the church, with a ruling class whose wealth and power was rural-based, and in which the upper classes and the indigenous population were in permanent hierarchical contact (Kingman, 1992: 132; Bromley and Jones, 1995). There were two different cultural worlds that were tied together by social and economic relations that were characterised by both inter-dependence and exploitation. Trade in agricultural produce, construction activities in the city and the demand for household servants created a demand for labour, which flowed to and from the countryside (Kingman, 1992). In the first part of the century, the area that was classified as urban was not completely consolidated, but was rather an amalgamation of dispersed semi-rural settlements. A small core, which was surrounded by indigenous communities and

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haciendas, lacked commercial outlets for anything other than poor quality local products. At this time, there were no large-scale commercial or industrial enterprises. Street trading, particularly of vegetables from the surrounding rural areas, was an important economic activity for the indigenous people. This pattern of social and economic relationships consolidated the context for the development of a concept of a ‘heritage’ for Quito and the later development of planning in the city. The steady incorporation of large-scale feudal haciendas into the market system strengthened the economic power of some families and this became expressed in the architecture of some of the houses in Quito. While the grand houses of the upper class were to be found in the centre and the indigenous population were mainly in the periphery, there were also densely populated central areas of mixed social classes.2 In the last third of the 19th century, the ground floors of the large houses of the centre began to be used for trade and artisanal activity on a rental basis, and new houses were designed and built with ground floors for this purpose. Wealthy families had their own artisans, who were held in patriarchal relationships and whose workshops also served as living spaces. In this period, richer families would have between four and eight household servants but travellers noted the beggars in the streets, the poverty of orphans and widows, and the extent of public and private charity (Kingman, 1992). The streets and squares of the centre were the key commercial areas for all, and this was to remain the case through the early years of planning and into the second half of the 20th century. Even in the late 19th century, there were pressures to remove the rural indigenous populations from the central area. Part of the reason that was given was that the traders lowered the cultural tone of the area. A painting of San Francisco Square in 1881 by the artist Louis Cordero, which is to be found in the Casa de Cultura Ecuatoriana, shows that the square was used at that time by indigenous traders selling vegetables and fruit from their semi-permanent and mobile stalls. Even although the painting suggests they were few in number, these street-traders were officially targeted for displacement. In 1884, the Head of the Municipal Council argued that “the stallholders destroy the gardens and dirty the sidewalks of the Square around the doorways and impede free movement with their rubbish and wares” (Kingman and Goetschel, 1992: 156). In the same year, sellers of alcohol, groceries and animal intestines were banned from operating within 350 m of the main square but, as has proved to be the case through to the present day, it was not possible to enforce this. Until now, as the local authority has tried to control the activities of the street traders, it has been met by resistance from this section of the urban poor. In 1909, at a time when the city’s commercial centre was at the heart of urban social and economic life, the council introduced a statute which removed street traders from the doorways of Independence Square. Part of the justification for this was that it would help to improve their conditions and encourage them to rent shops for their businesses, thereby breaking with customs which hinder progress (Kingman and Goetschel, 1992: 156). In this world-view, the traders were holding back progress, their behaviour lowered the cultural tone of the area, and if they could be converted into traders in what is now referred to as 2

In the 100 years to 1888, the physical size of Quito hardly changed, but the population almost doubled. The topology of the city, with the high Andes to the east and west and deep gullies transversing the space between was a constraint on city growth and contributed to its physical concentration.

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the formal sector, the city and the country would benefit. It was a theme that was to be repeated throughout the rest of the century. In 1911, control of butcher shops was introduced and in 1926 there were further controls on the sale of milk, along with further pressures to move the traders out of main streets such as Guayaquil and Almeda. Throughout this history of attempted removal of traders from the centre of Quito, however, there was a difficulty of enforcement and a deeply embedded culture of passive and active resistance. Pre-dating modern planning in Quito, these attempts to clear the streets represented continuity in anti-indigenous activity that reached from the Colonial era into the 20th century. They have also been reinforced by a powerful racist ideology that has been attractive to the city’s elites. Around the turn of the century, the ideas of the European Hygienists began to emphasise the contrast between progress, rationality, health, cleanliness and order on the one hand, and backwardness, irrationality, disease, dirtiness and disorder on the other, with the latter being identified with Ecuadorian rural and indigenous life. This ideology was consistent with that of the local ruling class, as it justified its power, wealth and ideas of racial superiority. It was a worldwide phenomenon (Anderson, 1995; Yeoh, 1996; Guerrero, 1997; Garrand-Burnett, 2000; Zulowski, 2000) and, in Ecuador, its influence carries through to the present day. While there were genuine scientific concerns about the health implications of the sale of food on the streets, the hygienist ideology nevertheless supported an anti-indigenous prejudice on the part of the upper classes and the emerging middle classes of Quito. The attempts to remove the traders from the city centre, however, were flying in the face of demographic pressures that led to an increase in their numbers. The population grew from 52 000 in 1906 to 210 000 in 1950 and the area of the city increased from 174 to 1300 ha in the same period (Bustos, 1992: 173). This quadrupling of the population of the city and the rapid extension of the built up area was related to the expansion of urban utilities and improvements in inter-regional transport. The arrival of the railway line from the port of Guayaquil in 1906, the formation of the Quito Electric Light and power Company in 1908, the provision of piped water to some parts of the city in 1908 and the introduction of public transport in the form of electric trams in 1914, all contributed to attract people from the rural areas to a city with few formal employment opportunities. As the population of Quito increased and because of the physical constraints of the surrounding mountains, the shape of the city changed from a concentric radial pattern to a longitudinal layout (Carrio´n, 1987: 38). This created the conditions for the upper classes to move out of the Colonial Centre into newly constructed residential districts in the north of the city, resulting in a highly stratified spatial structure. The growing middle classes, who found employment in Government and the nascent financial and industrial sectors, continued to adopt a perspective that viewed the vast majority of the migrants as inferior and backward (Bustos, 1992). As a result of growth pressures, Quito has become the most planned city in Ecuador over the past 60 years, but this has had practically no impact on its anarchic growth (Carrio´n and Vallejo, 1992: 143). The first Plan Regulador (Controlling Plan) for Quito, which was produced in 1942 in the context of a rural economic crisis and the aftermath of a damaging war with Peru over the ownership of a mineral-rich sector of the Amazon region, was rational/scientific in its approach. However, its weaknesses overlaid and reinforced each other to such an extent that it did not contain the essence of what makes

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a plan work in Third World cities: it was conceived in the developed world; it was ahistorical; it ignored local political realities; its grand ideas were beyond the economics of a poor country plagued by agrarian crisis and the war with neighbouring Peru; it took no account of social forces such as the migration which the war of 1941 and the economic crisis in the rural areas produced; and it did not begin to involve the people of Quito in its design or implementation. In some respects, the Plan was forward-looking, but its ideal physical – spatial proposals, which sought to introduce rationality to the future growth of the city, failed to connect with the urban and regional reality of the time. In addition, its proposals for the future use of land reinforced the existing highly stratified social structure in the city (Municipio de Quito, 1992: 27). Despite the fact that it had no immediate impact on the growth of Quito, the Plan did have an influence on the future physical development of the city. In particular, it recognised the importance of the historic centre of the city, which at that time was referred to as the ‘Colonial City’ (Municipio de Quito, 1992: 25), and it provided a basis for the authorities in Quito to develop future ‘monumentalist’ policies for the conservation and rehabilitation of this historic area. At the same time, it helped to transform the municipal council from a purely administrative body into an agent for the orderly use of urban space. It also created a philosophical framework which conditioned future thinking about the nature of planning in Quito: as its title implies, it defined and promoted a regulatory and authoritarian culture from which present-day planners have been unable to liberate themselves.3 The regulatory nature of the Plan Regulador carried through to the Plan of 1967 (Plan Director de Urbanismo ). However, by the 1960s the influence of the Alliance for Progress, the fear of social revolution, and the impact of theories of marginality and social action were also influential in the plan-making process. Theories of development and modernisation drove the process, and the fear of the consequences of the marginalisation of the urban population was an important factor is the development of a social rhetoric that justified the need for the Plan. However, this apparent commitment to social issues obscured an authoritarian pre-occupation with control. That is, social concerns were important in the formulation of the 1967 Plan but they did not feature in its outputs. In practice, the problems of the physical growth of the city superseded the social concerns that derived from the fear of the marginal masses. A building boom in Quito in the 1960s stimulated the city council to try to impose more order on the growth of the city through the creation of new bye-laws and departments dedicated to the planning and control of urban development (Carrio´n and Vallejo, 1992: 146 –147). Ordinance 1165 approved the Plan Director de Urbanismo but the Plan was mainly concerned with studies of land use, the location of buildings and the major road network. It provided the statutory planning framework that exists today and, although it did lead to the creation of tunnels that linked the north and south of the city and it set the framework for private sector property investment in the future, it lacked the instruments 3

The Plan anticipated that the area of the city would grow to 4.5 times its existing size, accommodating a population of 700 000, which was four times the existing population, by the year 2000. By the new Millennium, the population was at least double that which was anticipated.

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and finance to tackle the socio-economic concerns of the time. One of its important components, however, was an evaluation and a proposal for the Historic Zone of Quito. The 1970s saw a return to technocratic solutions to urban planning problems, which was intimately linked to a renewed emphasis on the control of social problems rather than their transformation. Social problems were treated as ‘pathological’ by planners, despite the fact that in other parts of Latin America the work of Mangin and Turner was encouraging urban authorities to treat the activities of the poor as ‘solutions’ which could be harnessed and developed in the interest of the city as a whole, rather than dysfunctional behavioural ‘problems’ (Mangin, 1967; Turner, 1967). This new approach suggested an enabling perspective rather than a controlling one, but the thinking did not reach the planners of Quito. They were obsessed with control and with the need to change the behaviour of the poor. The ‘Controlling Plan, 1973 –1993’ (Plan Director ) was the first plan to take a regional perspective on the city, but its spatial orientation was conditioned by the fact that it was promoted and developed as a result of a national concern for ‘the urban problem’, rather than the needs of local people. It reinforced the Council’s normative approach to social problems and it was conceived in a scientific – rationalist tradition. Its human orientation and developmentalist roots were lost in a mass of figures and formulae which sought to confirm its scientific – rational validity (Carrio´n and Vallejo, 1992: 147). The Plan spoke only to planning professionals of the same tradition, did not deal with the pressing needs of local constituencies, failed to fire the enthusiasm of politicians, could not gather the necessary finance behind it and it did not become law. The application of a scientific – rationalist ideology in a culture of control, denied the possibility that the poor could contribute to urban solutions. A perspective that assumed the ‘pathology’ of the urban poor logically led to the need for greater social control. In 1973, Ecuador began to export oil from the Amazonian Region of the country. At a time when the world was reeling from the oil shock of the early 1970s, Ecuador became the smallest member of OPEC and saw its oil export prices and therefore foreign earnings increase dramatically. The military Government of the time, which had taken power to avoid a free-for-all struggle for the ownership of these resources, channelled them through the state. Quito, as capital and the seat of government, was the primary locational beneficiary in the early oil-boom years (Bromley and Jones, 1995). As had already happened in Lima over a longer period of time (Dias, 2001: 350), government offices, the financial sector, commerce and the middle classes who found employment in these fields, moved rapidly out of the ‘Colonial Centre’. As these activities and the social classes who depended on them moved towards the north of the city, popular housing development expanded mainly in the south. Through this period of rapid transformation, the city core nevertheless remained the focal point for small-scale trading and artisanal activities. As the city was being transformed, however, there was an urban planning vacuum. In 1978, Quito became the first city in the world to be recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage Site of Humanity (Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad).4 This had 4

This was promoted within UNESCO by Gonzalo Abad Grijalva, an ex Minister of Education in Ecuador and a senior UNESCO officer, in the context of a great deal of indifference in both the city council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (interview with his son, Gonzalo Abad Ortiz).

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a number of significant effects. It placed the problems of the conservation of this area in a global cultural context, it shifted the focus of concern away from the previous purely monumentalist approach, and it encouraged a framework for conservation to be created (Jones and Bromley, 1996). Plan Quito of 1981 acknowledged the need to restudy the city following the oil boom of the 1970s, and the contents of the shelved Plan Director 1973– 1993 were revised and carried forward into the new Plan. However, despite the opportunities which the new oil wealth offered for creative enabling planning policies for the Ecuadorian capital, Plan Quito remained normative in orientation and it sought to impose a legally based urban order, with a continuing emphasis on control and rationality. An important aspect of the Plan was a set of proposals for the decentralisation of administrative responsibility for exercising this control, but a national debt crisis caused the country to move into a period of structural adjustment in 1982 (Salgado, 1987; Acosta, 1996), and planning was not at the top of the political agenda. The Plan was followed by a land-use plan and an Architecture and Planning Statute, but the Municipal council did not approve either of these proposals. The planning process in Quito remained out of step with local needs and the sociopolitical reality of the time. After a number of buildings and monuments were damaged in an earthquake in 1987, a Heritage Rescue Fund (Fondo de Salvamento de Patrimonio-FONSAL) was created to support the rehabilitation work of the Municipio (Carrio´n and Vallejo, 1992; Bromley and Jones, 1995). The concept of rehabilitation was extended from being concerned only with buildings of historical and architectural merit to cover public spaces and non-monumental buildings (the majority of which passed into the hands of the local authority after rehabilitation), the improvement of services and infrastructure and the reorganisation of urban transport. The creation of FONSAL made it possible for governments such as those of Spain and Belgium to make funds available for rehabilitation and in 1988 a Master Plan for the Integral Rehabilitation of the Historic Centre of Quito was developed. A Commission for Historic Areas was created within the City Council. The Master Plan for the Historic Centre became part of the District Metropolitan Plan for Quito of 1991 and this heralded a new theoretical approach to planning in the city. The new Metropolitan Plan was much more democratic in its philosophy. In the part which explains the philosophy and the framework for the historic centre of Quito, there is a great deal of emphasis on the need to involve the local population in the planning process. The Master Plan itself was based on three principles: ‘democratisation, decentralisation and participation’ (Municipio de Quito, 1988). Given the inter-relationship between cultural values and the socio-economic character of the historic central area, the city drew up a policy which articulated both conservation and development, through the pursuit of two fundamental outcomes: “the rehabilitation of the cultural heritage and the improvement of the living conditions of the people who inhabit the area” (Municipio de Quito, 1991: 8). A series of proposals were put forward for the economic regeneration of the area, such as a programme for increasing employment and training for the street traders. It was argued that the existing social deterioration makes it difficult to see the area “as a quality tourist location or as a residential zone where people can live with dignity and security” (Municipio de Quito, 1991: 8 –9). Tackling this became

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a major concern of the Council. However, this new orientation, which was promoted by the Director of Planning and supported by a team of young planners with social science backgrounds, did not sit easily with the historic culture of control which was deeply rooted in the city council and in the mentality of local elites.

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CHAPTER 3 Recent proposals for the historic centre of Quito (HCQ) Under the direction of a succession of Christian Democratic mayors (from Rodrigo Paz in 1988, who was followed by Jamil Mahuad and Roque Sevilla), the city has entered into partnership programmes with various national conservation organisations from Belgium, Italy, Spain and the United States to restore Quito’s monasteries, churches and squares (Corzo, 1997: 10). As a result, Quito has had considerable investment in the historic centre but conservation policy in the first half of the 1990s mainly concentrated on monuments and on ‘cosmetic measures to renovate streets and plazas’ (Bromley and Jones, 1995; Bromley, 1998: 257). It was not until 1994 that encouraging tourism became important and, consequently, that the issue of excluding the informal traders became part of the city’s conservation strategy. The improvement of the urban image became a specific objective and, in contrast to the position taken in 1991 when the Municipio was explicitly against any repression of informal commerce, by 1994 FONSAL’s plan for the HCQ was pointing to the need for their exclusion (Bromley, 1998). Until this time, the actual achievements of conservation in Quito had been limited (Bromley and Jones, 1995; Jones and Bromley, 1996). Under the leadership of Jamil Mahuad, a Project for the Preservation and Economic Reactivation of the Historic Centre was set up. A loan of US$ 51 million was attracted from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and, in order to manage these funds, a Company for the Development of the Historic Centre of Quito (the Empresa ) was formed by the Council in 1995. In total, around US$ 100 million was to be made available from national and international sources to support the activities of the Empresa. Its programme of work consisted of the rehabilitation of public spaces and buildings of particular historical and architectural value, improvement of the urban infrastructure and the provision of services that would rescue the historic area from its declining functional importance. The proposed objectives of the revitalisation of traditional commercial and service activities and the promotion of the ‘correct’ use and maintenance of public and private buildings, were seen as vehicles for improving the quality of life of those living in the HCQ as well as making the centre more attractive for visitors who were interested in its wealth of historical, cultural and architectural attractions. From the point of view of the Empresa, the challenge was to rescue, rehabilitate and conserve this part of the national and international patrimony and generate a dynamic and secure environment that would attract investment from the private sector (Empresa de Desarollo del Centro Historico de Quito, n.d.). It sought to create an orderly, clean, diverse and heterogeneous place, whose renovation would have a human dimension and would benefit all the residents and users. It would do this through: † Adapting the urban-physical environment, particularly through the restoration of cultural, tourist and recreational buildings, the creation of parking spaces, improvements to the urban infrastructure and services (pavements, water supply, sewage, telephones and electricity supply), and changes to street signage.

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† Improving the quality of urban public space through reducing air contamination, increasing security, reorganising public transport, and embarking on a clean-up campaign. † Creating a climate of stability and confidence for private investment, particularly in the tourism sector but also including retail, through the reordering of public space and the creation of micro-enterprises. † Strengthening municipal organisations through entrepreneurial, efficient, de-bureaucratised and decentralised management. † Ensuring local identification with the process through citizen participation and cultural appropriation. One of the first steps towards achieving these changes was the setting up of a business and information centre. The IDB, however, was concerned about the extent of informal trade and it argued that the traders were holding back other forms of private sector investment in the HCQ (BID, 1994). There was a lack of precise information about the nature and extent of street and market trading activities in the HCQ and the Bank requested that a study be made of the issue (Bromley, 1998). Over the next 2 years, four studies were in fact carried out, two of which were not immediately acceptable to the local planners because of the nature of their conclusions (Municipio de Quito, 1996a; Middleton, 1997; Empresa de Desarollo del Centro Historico de Quito, 1997a; Herrera and Cordova, 1998). The initial study (Municipio de Quito, 1996a) raised more questions than it answered about the complexity of the social and economic relations of informal trading and it encouraged suspicion on the part of the traders about the motives of the Council. Nevertheless, it was sympathetic to the social and economic circumstances of the informal traders and critical of the council’s administrative response to them. The 1996 study looked at the organisation of the informal traders in the HCQ, their use of space, the bye-laws and other legal norms that regulated their activities, and their economic situation. The study recognised that, in the context of the rapid growth of Quito, informal commerce constituted a popular solution in the face of the shortage of formal employment opportunities and it satisfied the consumer demand of the low-income sector of the population of the city. It proposed that any institutional response to the problems generated by informal trade should integrate the aims of conservation with improving the quality of life of the people who lived and worked in the historic centre. It noted, however, that there were considerable administrative problems within the council that also had to be dealt with, particularly the fragmented approach to the issue of street traders and the deeply embedded corruption which characterised council-trader relations. In addition to the Administration of the Central Zone which, as its title suggests, had been set up to bring together the administration of council services in the area, there were still four other council-wide departments dealing directly with the traders: Hygiene, Markets, Planning and the Metropolitan Police. There was a ‘total lack of coordination’ between the departments and the zonal administration for the HCQ, whose architect-planners were responsible for adapting and improving the use of public space (Municipio de Quito, 1996a: 4). These administrative problems were compounded by corruption, particularly in the Markets Department, whose responsibility was to control market activities and who

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operated without clear policies for the treatment of informal commerce (Municipio de Quito, 1996a). The application of the existing bye-law for the regulation of the markets and street trade was ignored in favour of bribes and ‘presents’. This type of relationship had deep roots in the historically low levels of pay of those who worked in the department and, for the same reason, it was also found in the Metropolitan Police.5 The Markets Department had neither the resources nor the structures to manage informal commerce. Only 15 inspectors and four supervisors covered the whole city, despite the rapid growth of Quito and the expansion of informal trade that had taken place (Municipio de Quito, 1996a). The Metropolitan Police were repressive, particularly of women food sellers, often relieving them not only of their profits but also their capital, which many of them borrowed on a daily basis from moneylenders who charged exorbitant rates of interest. In this climate of corruption and repression, it was not surprising that the concept of participatory planning was unknown. The Directorate of Planning had developed a number of projects for relocating the informal traders in order to clear the streets, consisting mainly of the construction or improvement of buildings in the city centre for the creation of commercial centres into which the traders were to be moved. These had not been successful, partly because proper feasibility studies had not been carried out but mainly because they did not involve the participation or commitment of the traders. There were plans for building a new market at the site of the old slaughterhouse (el Camal) in the south of the city, based on the fact that a large proportion of the customers of the informal traders came from the lower income districts of the south and a new market in this area would reduce pressure in the historic centre. This had been temporarily suspended in 1996 but it was still very much a part of the planners thinking. It would resurface as policy later, but the 1996 study warned that it would meet the same fate as the proposals for the new and refurbished markets in the HCQ “if there was no change to the unilateral approach which has characterised municipal management in this field” (Municipio de Quito, 1996a: 5). The Empresa was therefore set up in the context of a city council which was riddled with confusion about responsibility for informal trade, there was a culture of corruption and repression, and planning had no consultative nor participatory pretensions. Municipal policy and practice not only did not help good governance in the HCQ, but also were partly to blame for the problems. When the Empresa was given responsibility for the conservation and renewal of the historic centre of Quito, the statutory responsibility and human resources for managing informal trade were diffused through the city council. The response of the Council was to transfer formal responsibility for the markets and street traders to the Central, Southern and Northern administrative districts of the city. In the case of the HCQ, this meant the Central Zone Administration. Each district began to develop its own approach to the issue of street traders, the zonal administrations had no control over Markets Department staff where inspectors were still located and, as a result, there was no coordinated management of markets and street trading throughout Quito.6 The approaches in the Northern and Southern Administrative Zones reflected the social class composition of these districts and the pressures that different social groups brought to bear on the Council. The informal sector was perceived 5 6

Interview with David Orellano, Director of Markets, July 1997. Interview with David Orellano, July 1997.

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differently in different areas of the city and, consequently, they were treated with varying levels of priority. The people in the poorer Southern Zone generally accept the informal traders and use them for obtaining their consumption needs. Residents and traders in the South are largely part of the same social class, culture and economy. The traders are also residents and their position in the Ecuadorian social and economic structures are not substantially different from those living around them. In the upper middle class Northern Zone, however, the street traders are seen as a serious problem. In this part of Quito, the Metropolitan Police received about 10 calls per day from people complaining about the informal traders, compared to only one call in the South. In the Northern Zone, a full system of control was put in place. The Northern Zone Administration allocated sites for rent on municipal land, there were conditions attached to the rental, including the obligation to keep the area around the site clean, and the street activity was tightly controlled by the Metropolitan Police. A disproportionate number of the Police’s 600 men were patrolling the Northern Zone of the city.7 In the Southern Zone, there was little public pressure for control of the traders’ activities and little was happening in this respect. According to the Markets Department and the Police, there was a ‘proliferation’ of informal trading and permission to operate was given without any criteria being in place. There had, however, been corruption and the person who was giving out the permission was dismissed. The Central Zone Administration wanted to implement some of the things that were being done in the North, but they had a different set of requirements for street traders and they wanted to act with neither the agreement of the traders nor the local residents. In the North, the system of control enjoyed the support of the middle-class residents of this part of the city, but in the Central Zone the perspective of the residents was assumed, rather than known, by the planners. One year after responsibility for the markets was transferred to the Central Zone Administration, there was, in the view of the Markets Department and the Police, still no effective control. Consistent with the view of the IDB, the removal of these informal activities from the streets was viewed by the planners of the Central Zone Administration as a necessary part of their conservation policy and a pre-condition for private sector investment (Bromley, 1998: 245). Discussions were taking place with the traders’ leaders about their removal, but no progress was being made. While the traders were trying to defend their interests, apparently ignoring the wider needs of the city and refusing to bend to the pressures of globalisation, the planners were ignoring the historical development of local labour market dynamics (Lawson, 1995) and the fact that social relations are reproduced in the public spaces of cities like Quito (Jones, 1994). In the policies that were being developed and the discussions that were taking place, power was being exercised and opposed, and politics and ideology were clearly embedded in the contested spaces of the city (Yeoh, 1996). The Historic Centre of Quito provided a spatial context for power relations and conflicts of interest. The City Council planners, however, had difficulty in recognising that tourism policy involved much more than the monumentalism that had driven FONSAL’s earlier policies. 7

Interview with David Orellano, July 1997.

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The Empresa, on the other hand, recognised that the development objectives that had been agreed with the IDB could not be realised unless an accommodation could be reached with the traders. The position of the planners was clearly part of the problem. Funded by the IDB, the Empresa was charged with the delivery of the Municipio’s vision for the Historic Centre of Quito. This remained the rehabilitation and conservation of this important part of the national and international heritage in such a way as to create a dynamic and secure environment that would benefit all the residents and users of the area (Empresa de Desarollo del Centro Historico de Quito, 1997a). The need to create an environment for the economic regeneration of the area was seen as being of particular importance. This implied the development of a climate of stability and confidence that would attract private sector investment, particularly in the fields of tourism, recreation and the cultural industries. In addition to the physical improvement that this implied, the Empresa did also recognise the importance of the human dimension in such a change. The participation of the residents and users was seen to be a pre-condition for the success of the project, for it was considered to be essential that its ownership was shared by the community and that the strategies for rehabilitation strengthened their identification with the future of the Historic Centre. The position taken by the Empresa in this respect was in contrast to the historic culture of control that permeated the Council’s planners in the office for the Administration of the Central Zone. However, the Empresa also found it difficult to reconcile the interests of the city council with those of others. Reconsideration of the use of public space was seen as an essential element of the improvement of the infrastructure and services. It links environmental considerations— such as contamination, security, and congestion—with the local economy, the use and condition of buildings, the visual attractiveness of the townscape, and the quality of life of the residents and users. In seeking to tackle the deterioration of urban space of recent years, the Empresa argued that it was using an integrated and holistic vision of what is possible. It was an integral assumption of the vision that this deterioration was reducing the attractiveness of the Historic Centre for residents, users and potential investors. There was agreement with the planners of the Central Zone about the nature of the physical and spatial problems of the historic centre. A major priority for the Empresa was the need to deal with the rapid expansion of street trade, which had contributed to pedestrian and vehicular congestion through the use of pavements, streets, squares and other public places (Fig. 1). Buildings of architectural value were obscured by the uncontrolled growth of informal commerce, whilst damage to buildings through the securing of stalls to their walls had become commonplace. The interiors of buildings, which should have been conserved, had deteriorated through unauthorised change of use. Increasingly they were being used as stores rather than as homes for people whose presence in the Historic Centre would help to restore its vitality. The generation of rubbish continued to grow, as the resources of the Municipio to deal with this problem declined. Surveys of the population consistently showed that around 28% of the population of the city thought that the street traders were the principle or second most important problem of the Historic Centre of Quito (Market, 1997, Tables 175 and 176). On the other hand, it was also acknowledged by the Empresa at this time that informal commerce was a dynamic aspect of the local economy, offering employment and income

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to a sector of the workforce and supplying cheap goods for the consumption of lower and lower-middle income households. These activities were accepted as a creative response to a lack of other employment opportunities and it was recognised that any strategy for the reorganisation of the use of space or for the economic regeneration of the area should also take this into account. The development of heritage tourism in the city and the related question of what to do about the street traders therefore emerged as a major political issue

Fig. 1. The use of public space by street traders in the historic centre of Quito.

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Fig. 1 (continued )

for the Municipio and the Empresa, as they tried to redevelop the historic centre and reposition it as an international tourist attraction. The Empresa in particular had to confront a fundamental set of inter-related dilemmas: how to reconcile the use of public space for tourists and the middle classes with the interests of the traders; how to tackle the issue of the restoration of public buildings with the practice of traders; how to measure and compare the contribution of the city traders to the city economy with the potential contribution of tourists who were thought to be put off by their activity; how to reconcile the planners’ need for control over public and private

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spaces with the aspirations of the traders; ultimately, in fact, how to promote the rational use of space in the context of the global trends of international tourism and the local interests of a significant segment of social, economic, cultural and political life in the city. In order to help them tackle these issues, the Empresa and the Inter-American Development Bank contracted this author to carry out an analysis of existing materials on street traders and produce general principles for the reorganisation on informal trade in the HCQ. The background to this work was the fact that the author had carried out a longitudinal study of informal economic activity in Quito, which had been funded by the ESRC over a period of 20 years. Initially, in 1975, this was concerned with informal trade and artisanal activity in the HCQ and the surrounding areas. Over time, the investigation concentrated on the development of the small-scale manufacturing sector, but part of it also looked at the relationship between traders and artisans in the city centre. It was as a result of this experience that the author was employed as a consultant in 1997 (Middleton, 1997). Following this work, a Master Plan for Informal Trade in the Historic Centre of Quito (Herrera and Cordova, 1998) was drawn up and the negotiations between the Council and the traders entered a new phase. In July 2000, the author returned to Quito to find out what had happened in the intervening period. At this time, political control in the city was about to change. A new socialist mayor had ended a long period of Christian Democratic rule and was about to take office. Two visits that took place in January and April 2002 for other purposes provided further information about the situation. The remainder of this paper is based on the analysis that was carried out in 1997 and what happened subsequently. A basic assumption of the work that was carried out in 1997 was that in order to pursue the rational use of public space as part of a strategy for the rehabilitation of the Historic Centre in the above terms, it was important to understand the complexities of the interrelated activities and issues which provided the context for such a policy. It was also important to give a structure to the complexity, in order to make it intellectually manageable. The economic and physical issues that we have started to outline are obvious elements of such a structure. In addition, however, there are important organisational factors that have to be taken into consideration. Related to these issues, there are the divergent interests of those who participate in the social and economic life of the centre. It was clear, however, that the most important barrier to the successful resolution to the problems created by the recent growth of informal trade were differences in culture that had made an agreement between the traders and the planners who were responsible for the Central Zone of Quito extremely difficult to achieve. In order to learn lessons from the Quito case and to develop strategies for the future of informal trade in the context of the overall development of the Historic Centre, it is therefore important first to develop a framework which will allow us to make sense of ‘the complexity and provide a base for the elaboration of policy. The elements of the framework that we shall use here are based on a structuralist perspective that takes the social relationships between individuals and groups as its fundamental components. These can be combined in a substructural framework, the main elements of which are, in this case, the spatial structure, the socio-economic structure, and the structure of cultural relations.

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CHAPTER 4 Spatial, socio-economic and cultural structures in the HCQ 4.1. The spatial structure Built around the settlement created by the Spanish when they conquered Quito, the Historic Centre of Quito consists of 308 blocks, covering 314 ha (Empresa de Desarollo del Centro Historico de Quito, 1997b). The area covered by the activities of the Empresa, however, consists of a core of 72 blocks. Until 1940, it represented the consolidated urban nucleus of the city. The Cathedral and 10 other ‘monumental’ churches and convents, including those of San Francisco, La Merced, La Compania, El Carmen, Santo Domingo and San Augustin, are located in the zone. There is also the hospital of San Juan de Dios and over 20 public buildings that have their origins in the colonial and republican periods. The nature of street trading in the Historic Centre has changed considerably over the past two decades (for a fuller discussion, see Bromley, 1998). Twenty years ago, market stalls were confined to the markets of the HCQ, the most important of which were Santa Clara for food, 24 de Mayo mainly for furniture and Ipiales for clothing and other general goods, many of which were contraband goods from Colombia. There was a small overflow from Ipiales into the adjoining streets of Mideros and Chile but, in general, the only people who operated on the streets were mobile street sellers and a small number of stalls selling cigarettes and sweets. Of these markets, only Ipiales remains, although there are now different forms of trading activities in the 24 de Mayo. The furniture market, which sold cheap artisanal production for popular consumption, was closed down to create a public open space based on modern urban design principles. This, however, has become the main market for recycled second hand and stolen goods and it is the focal point for another type of informal activity in Quito: prostitution that serves a mainly lower and lower middle class clientele. It has become a dangerous part of the city by both day and night and in the streets of Loja and Ambato brothels have sprung up, at least one of which is part owned by a local police officer.8 Trading activity around Ipiales has expanded considerably, both in terms of new market places with fixed stalls and overflow into the streets. As the number of traders has increased, however, the number of people using the markets on days other than Saturday appears to have declined. It is estimated that informal trade takes up a total area of 15 000 m2 in the HCQ, of which 8820 m2 (59%) is in the market of Calle Ipiales and the surrounding streets of Mideros, Imbabura, Chimborazo, Chile, Cuenca and Mejia (Fig. 2). Of the remainder, 4060 m2 (27%) is taken up by traders in fixed places in other streets and a further 1138 m2 (8%) of street space is occupied on days of market fairs. The balance is taken up by the fruit market (Municipio de Quito, 1997a: 14). The distribution of informal activities in the streets of the HCQ in 1997 can be seen in Fig. 1. Tourists’ views of the churches and other buildings of architectural interest are obstructed by trading activities which, in the opinion of the Municipio, are not consistent with the architectural and historical value of the buildings. If tourism is to be developed in the Centre, these buildings clearly need to be brought into view. However, the location of 8

Interview with local artisans, 1995.

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Fig. 2. The historic centre of Quito.

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the street traders is also important for: the creation or reduction of congestion, both pedestrian and vehicular; personal security, which affects not only tourists but also the residents and the 320 000 people who come into the HCQ each day to work or carry out aspects of their personal business; the generation and management of waste, which not only affects the users of the HCQ by virtue of its negative effect on the environment but also generates costs for the Municipio, for which all inhabitants of the city have to pay; the deterioration of buildings, the walls of which are damaged by the nails which secure the makeshift stalls and which suffer dampness caused by stalls which are pitched hard against them, thereby not allowing the sun and wind to dry them after rainfall; and the well-being of other small traders who operate from premises inside buildings and whose shop fronts are hidden or blocked by the stalls of the street traders. The study by this author in 1997 proposed that this complex structure could be simplified to allow the development of a strategy that proceeds by stages along two parallel sets of activity (Middleton, 1997). The problems surrounding the Ipiales market have been identified as the most intractable, for reasons relating to the volume of activity and the attitudes of the organisations representing the traders. On the other hand, the activities in streets such as Rocafuerte, Bolivar, Sucre and Espejo have had, for some time, a semblance of order that could be improved as part of an overall strategy for the HCQ. As we shall see in Section 4.2, street trade and market trade are intimately inter-related, but by separating out what are essentially two distinct sets of problems in two different parts of the HCQ, a phased programme of action with two parallel but inter-related routes was possible. Work that had already been done by the planners in the less problematical streets offered the possibility of a reasonably straightforward solution, which could act as an attractive example of what is possible for other traders. In spatial-physical terms, there were opportunities for improvement to which we shall return in Chapter 5. This was not merely, however, a matter of ordering the space. The report argued that the overall objectives for informal traders could only be met if certain organisational and cultural barriers could be overcome and if the interests of local residents could also be brought into the picture. Despite the efforts of the planners to talk to the traders, a conflict of socioeconomic and organisational perspectives presented the greatest barriers to a negotiated solution to the problem. 4.2. The socio-economic structure: informal trade in Quito As part of a process of the tertiarisation and informalisation of the Ecuadorian economy, the number of people involved in informal commerce in Quito continues to increase dramatically (Municipio de Quito, 1997a: Section 2.2; Bromley, 1998).9 In 9

The growth of the informal sector, and of informal trade in particular, is not just an issue in Ecuador. In the period 1980– 1992, there was a growing informalisation of the urban labour force throughout Latin America (ILO, 1995). In Ecuador, this trend has been taking place since at least 1974 (Pita, 1992). Between 1990 and 1993, in the country as a whole, employment in the informal sector increased from 39.4 to 40.6% of the economically active population (Municipio de Quito, 1996a: 1). In Quito, as the economically active population grew by 112% between 1974 and 1990, the number of self-employed, which may be taken as a proxy for the informal sector, grew by 179% (Middleton and Kelley, 1996). The increasing importance of tertiary employment is also of considerable significance. Manufacturing employment increased in absolute terms throughout the period, but as a proportion of the total labour force, its importance declined considerably between 1982 and 1990.

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1991, it was estimated that around 4000 families in the HCQ depended on informal commerce for their livelihood (Municipio de Quito, 1991: 15). By 1996, it was estimated that there were around 13 500 people involved in informal trade, of who up to 8500 were organised in 96 associations (Municipio de Quito, 1996a: 8). In the HCQ, the level of monthly transactions of informal commerce was estimated at 17 850 million sucres (around US $5 million at the time) (Municipio de Quito, 1996a: 26). In 1991, one-third of the families in the HCQ reported that they had incomes that were no higher than the minimum wage at that time. By 1996, it was estimated that the traders were earning between US $100 and US $ 215 per month, depending on location and type of activity (Municipio de Quito, 1996a: 21). While there is no doubt that some traders are doing extremely well and have managed to accumulate considerable wealth, it would appear that the majority have very low incomes which do not allow them to save and invest and which made it inevitable that when they need credit they have to resort to informal methods, which are extremely expensive. However, the social and economic structure of commerce in the Historic Centre makes it difficult to generalise about household incomes. The informal traders are a heterogeneous group whose different work situations can be identified through an analysis of product supply and capital supply linkages that, in turn, influence different levels of economic well being (Teltscher, 1994). While it is known that informal traders sell goods that are produced nationally and internationally, through various types of supply linkages, there is less information about the internal structure of distribution within the HCQ. This is based on family and kinship inter-relationships and it extends from wholesalers through larger market stallholders and shop owners through fixed-place street traders to mobile traders. This structure changes on different days of the week, depending on demand. The structure of supply on a Saturday, for example, is different from that on weekdays, and the structure is not the same on all weekdays. Teltscher has pointed out that “85% of all enterprises were either family businesses without (paid) employees or managed by a single person” (Municipio de Quito, 1996a: 173). There is, however, a complexity of family and work relationships which makes micro-economic analysis difficult and which has implications for any proposals for the reorganisation of the traders in space. What has happened with the street overflow from Ipiales is, of course, intimately linked to the fortunes of the fixed market stalls in the area. There is a general crisis in the operation of the city’s markets, such that the Municipio is carrying a massive budget deficit right across Quito. In each of the three Zones (Centre, North and South) income from the markets does not reach 6% of the council’s expenditure. In the Centre, income stands at around 5% of expenditures (Municipio de Quito, 1996b: 8). Part of the reason for this is the subutilisation of the markets which is, in the planners’ view, related to the competition which the market stall holders face from the mobile traders who operate outside the market (Municipio de Quito, 1996b: 31). It is argued that as the purchasing power of the lower and lower-middle classes declines, they will tend to buy lower quality goods at lower prices from the mobile traders. They simply do not enter the markets to pay more for the better quality goods. From this point of view, it is imperative that the sale of goods outside the market is eliminated (Municipio de Quito, 1996b: 32).

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There is, however, some evidence that the goods that are sold in the street emanate from the market stallholders themselves. Some of the relationships between the markets and the streets are conducted on a purely business basis, under conditions which can be onerous for the street sellers. Others are merely trying to secure a reasonable level income for themselves by using these alternative outlets; and it is clearly the case that some traders in the streets around Ipiales are market stallholders who only use the stalls for storing their goods. In many cases, therefore, moving the traders off the streets would mean moving them back into the stalls that they currently rent from the Municipio and stopping them from using other family members to diversify their outlets. There is also family based multiple stall-holding, the true extent of which is not known at the present time. The extent to which market stalls are used as stores and how the pattern of use changes according to demand are also not known in precise detail. There is visual evidence that some are used as stores during the week, when the primary outlet is the street stall, but are fully functional on a Saturday when there is a greater diversification of outlets. This appeared to be the case in the Plaza Hermano Miguel. The Parqueadero El Tejar (a converted car park), on the other hand, does not function even on a Saturday and even the street traders and stallholders do not venture near it because it is dangerous. Since the markets are not fully functional, the street trade is drawing business away from the markets, and the market traders themselves are an integral part of the system at all levels; any strategy for informal traders can only be effective if it takes account of this integration. However, since even this trade is an integral part of national and international trade (Teltscher, 1994), the impact of policy on the use of urban space will have wider ramifications. Although some of the goods are of international origin, and the Ipiales Market in particular has a history that is embedded in trade with Colombia, street trade in the HCQ is intimately linked to other sectors of Ecuadorian society and the economy in a number of ways: † Street traders offer medium and low-income consumers the possibility to obtain their basic needs at prices they can afford. † Many of the goods that are available through informal commerce are the products of large-scale industry and, as such, this type of trade offers an important outlet for the manufacturing sector. Through these linkages, the street traders are also sustaining employment and investment in the formal sector of the economy. † Other goods are the products of artisanal production, in both the urban and rural areas, thereby sustaining the livelihood of micro-entrepreneurs in other sectors of the economy. † The sale of agricultural products allows small, medium and large-scale producers to realise income for subsistence and reinvestment. While not all of these linkages are benign, and in fact it can be argued that many of them are exploitative, it is clear that informal commerce offers important outlets for other sectors of the economy and can make a positive contribution to national development. In its current form, however, it also clear that it generates certain problems for other sectors of the economy. In particular, we have noted that in its current spatial distribution it presents a barrier to the successful regeneration of the Historic Centre as a centre for

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national and international tourism. As such, it also presents difficulties for the generation of a variety of types of employment in the HCQ, including that of micro-enterprises that are linked to tourism. However, the solution of the problem could be linked to the future successful development of the traders; for if they were to diversify their skills and products, rather than their outlets, they could be integrated into the successful rehabilitation of the area. This is the kind of support that they are looking for.10 All of these problems act as a disincentive for investment in property, business and housing. They are not, however, uniformly spread across the HCQ and they are not insoluble. The key question is how the rational use of space can be promoted in such a way as to ensure that the livelihoods of the traders can be maintained and enhanced as much as possible through the process of reorganisation. The fact that the problems are not the same across the HCQ means that the solutions will not be uniformly applied across the area. Different types of traders do have different interests, which is reflected in how they are organised and which, as we shall see, the Municipio tried to use to impose its will. The heterogeneity of the condition of the street and market traders in the HCQ is reflected in the organisational structure of the area. The organisations of the traders operate at two levels. On one hand, they function at the street level, in the sense that there are 96 trader associations in the HCQ, of which 81 are registered with the Municipio (Municipio de Quito, 1997a: 6). In 1997, the registered organisations represented 5600 traders throughout the streets identified in Fig. 1, the vast majority of whom (80%) are involved in the sale of general merchandise. These organisations are democratically constituted and registered with the Ministry of Social Welfare as charitable bodies. On the other hand, 78 of these organisations had come together to form a Front for the Defence of Small Traders of the Historic Centre (the ‘Front’). The street organisations were represented in the assembly of the Front, from which the leadership was chosen. The Front, which included associations who are also members of the Federation of Autonomous Small Traders of Quito and the Federation of the Free and Independent Small Traders of Pichincha, was set up in 1994 when the traders thought they were about to be forced off the streets. The main aim of all of the organisations was the preservation of their places of work in the streets and, although the street organisations negotiate with the planners on behalf of their members over permission to operate, the Front’s raison d’eˆtre was to protect the work places at all costs. The emergence of this organisation raised the question as to with whom the planners should be negotiating and over what issues. There was clearly discomfort with having to deal with the leaders of the organisations, many of whom were said to be mafiosos who were exploiting the traders in their own interests. While there appeared to be some truth in this in some cases, it was also an expression of contempt that had far deeper roots. The planners have traditionally been the ‘natural enemy’ of the street traders and constructive dialogue between the two has been almost impossible (Municipio de Quito, 1997a: 11). The view of officers in the Municipio is that the representatives of the traders are unwilling to listen to what they have to say and are only concerned with pressing for their own interests. The planners argue that the Municipio has the responsibility to represent the interests of all citizens, not just those who live and work in the HCQ, but in these meetings this aspect of their position is not recognised by the traders. In particular, it 10

Interview with the street traders during the occupation of the City Council buildings.

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was argued that the recently constituted Administration of the Central Zone had the responsibility to speak for all the interests in the Zone. Significantly, however, they did not consult directly with any of them. Both the planners and the traders’ organisations bring certain assumptions to the negotiating table which make progress extremely difficult. One of the most important of their unspoken assumptions is that they represent all the interests involved in this issue. This, however, was clearly not the case, for in addition to the diametrically opposed positions taken by the planners and the traders, there are other interests within the HCQ who would subscribe to neither of the positions taken. The most important of these are the residents of the area, but there are also the owners of other businesses, including those in the formal sector. The views of these groups remain largely unknown. In a public meeting with a group of residents of the HCQ, which was organised for the IDB consultant, the main concerns of the residents revolved around housing, employment and security, all of which are to some extent linked to the future of informal trade. The meeting was extremely positive about the rehabilitation and development activities in the HCQ and they thought that the changes that were taking place would offer them opportunities for the future. Their main concern was about the level of crime and insecurity in their barrio and in the Centre itself. They were clear that the future for themselves and the HCQ depended on action in this respect, but they also recognised the relationship between crime and unemployment. They were concerned to reclaim the city centre. Some were concerned that, with the improvement to housing that was taking place, they would be unable to afford to buy the renovated houses and would therefore be displaced. However, the majority were very pleased and enthusiastic about the possibility of obtaining vastly improved accommodation and everyone present appeared to have a commitment to staying in the HCQ. The issue of employment was extremely important. The residents used the HCQ for their weekly shopping and therefore constitute part of the demand in the area, including, without doubt, the demand which the informal traders satisfy. Their consumption therefore contributes to local employment generation. However, they were more interested in the possibility that the changes that were taking place within the centre would offer employment opportunities for them in the future. If they had a complaint it was that, for them, the changes were not taking place quickly enough. In particular, they articulated demands for training which would allow them to take advantage of the employment opportunities offered by the expansion of tourism and they particularly emphasised the need for assistance in setting up micro-enterprises, which would be able to serve this demand, and in obtaining or improving the skills which would be necessary. The positive outlook of this group suggested that, as an interest group within the HCQ, they had much to offer if their energies could be channelled. Of prime importance was the fact that they wanted the developments that were taking place to succeed and would work against anything that would be detrimental to the success of the venture. An important question was how the views of the residents could be brought into the discussions of the future of informal trade, as part of their overall contribution to the future success of the project. It should be noted, however, that they did not express any outright opposition to the street traders. The residents use the informal traders and some of them are traders. The views of these traders at the meeting were not significantly different from those of

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the other residents—they were anxious about their jobs and concerned about crime, but they were positive about the future of the HCQ and they wanted to participate actively in it. The heterogeneity of the HCQ is held together by inter-dependence: the interrelationship between the market and street traders; the reliance of residents and workers in the HCQ on the street traders for their consumption needs; the family linkages through the hierarchy of trade; the linkages between trading activity and other micro-entrepreneurs; the complexity of the traders’ organisational structure; the shared concerns about crime and unemployment; and the contiguity of traders and residents. Nevertheless, in certain situations there are differences of interests and in discussions about the future of work in the HCQ, the traders came to the negotiating table wearing their traders’ hats. These different interest groups within the HCQ come to the negotiating table with different perspectives on what is required in the area. They cannot be totally mutually exclusive, but their different perspectives offer insights into barriers that are generated in different subcultures. In the absence of wider participation in the regeneration process, of particular importance in Quito were the subcultures of the planners and the informal traders. 4.3. The structure of cultural relations The way that different interest groups see the issue of street traders is an aspect of culture. However, whenever the concept of culture arose in discussions with planners, it was assumed that it only applied to the street traders. That is, there was thought to be a ‘problem of culture’ that stopped the traders from seeing the point of view of the planners or stopped them in behaving in a way that the officers thought was appropriate. But of course planners and their organisations have cultures. They have ways of behaving and ‘seeing’ which are conditioned by the tradition of their profession, which depend on the education and training of the officers, which are guided by the aims and objectives of the organisations within which they work, which are related to the tasks that they are expected to perform, which respond to the interests of groups and departments within the organisation, and which reflect the values of their social class in society. The traditional culture of the planners in Quito is conditioned by paternalism, in some cases racism and, in the sections concerned with traders, by a history of control and repression. They come to the table with a view of the traders which contradicts any participatory intent in the legislation and which we can refer to therefore as a ‘culture of control’. The traders on the other hand, bring with them demands that they should be able to pursue their interests with absolutely no controls—a ‘culture of total freedom’. This clash between the two is the most difficult problem to be tackled if the situation of nondialogue is to be overcome and a repressive future is to be avoided. The problem is partly rooted in a deep-seated racism in Ecuadorian society. This racism is not always explicit. It is often expressed in terms of the ‘culture’ of indigenous peoples, emphasising their ‘lack of education’, which leads them to act ‘irrationally’ and makes them ‘susceptible to exploitation’ (Clark, 1998)—in this case by people such as the leaders of informal trader organisations. This was the framework within which the planers and other municipal officers approached their discussions with the street traders. Despite the fact that around 65% of the market traders in Quito were born in the city (Herrera and Cordova, 1998), there is a long-standing perception which identifies the traders as part of

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an indigenous culture that is despised by the middle and upper classes. It is a perception that has its historical roots in the 19th century thinking and in the analyses of the European Hygienists referred to above. It is a ‘way of seeing’ which is supported by the fact that, although the migrants from the rural areas and from the other towns and cities of the Sierra are a minority, they are highly visible. The greatest concentration of indigenous people from the Province of Chimborazo, for example, is to be found in the Historic Centre of Quito. They work in the streets of Ipiales and San Roque and a few of them also live in this area (Tocago´n, 1997: 194). The majority of them work in informal trade, selling goods such as clothes, fruit and vegetables. Some are porters in the market and their children work as shoe-shiners in the streets and squares in the HCQ during their free time and school holidays. Some of them have invested in property in the HCQ or in the barrios surrounding it and a number have restored old houses in the centre for rent, following the municipal codes—or as Tocago´n calls them, “the established mestizo system” (Tocago´n, 1997). The visibility of the indigenous minority encourages the middle classes and municipal officers to confound informal traders and indigenous peoples, a position that is supported by the close political affinity between the traders and indigenous movements, which in turn finds expression in the support that the traders gave to the indigenous peoples throughout the 1990s (Hidalgo, 2000). The traders joined the indigenous uprisings in Ecuador which closed down the Sierra in 1990 in a dispute over ancestral lands, helped to depose the corrupt populist President Abdala Bucaram in 1997, closed down the Sierra again in 1999 in response to President Mahuad’s neo-liberal reform package, and inspired the coup which overthrew Mahuad in 2000. Mahuad was the Mayor who refused to deal with the traders in 1997 and whose officers were constrained by their overwhelming culture of control and their conviction that it was ‘impossible to deal with these people’.11 Despite the commercial success of sections of the indigenous populations, such as the Otavalan Indians, who cling to their culture and sell their handicrafts throughout Europe and North America, and despite the growing cultural self-confidence of new ethnic political movements, deep-rooted racist attitudes persist. As inheritors of the hygienist ideology discussed earlier, many of the white and mestizo elite and urban middle classes “use pernicious images of disease, irrationality and ‘dirty Indians’ to characterise indigenas and justify their poverty” (Colloredo-Mansfield, 1998: 186).12 Successful entrepreneurs still get ignored or abused by the white-mestizo population. The old prejudices remain in spite of new wealth. In fact, the wealthiest indigenas are not only not accepted, but their wealth is explained away through contemptuous comments that deny the possibility that it could be 11

Interviews with officers of the Central Administrative Zone of Quito. Colloredo-Mansfield has described how racism imposes itself on the relationships between the middle-class white-mestizos and the indigenous poor:

12

Thus, for example, when an indigenous woman wrapped in a shawl speckled with barley chaff and drenched in the threshing-floor odours of crushed straw, labouring oxen and dust places some grubby bills in the soap-chaffed hands of a white-mestizo shopkeeper, ‘race manifests itself in the physical details of the encounter…As the shopkeeper recoils from her customer, she enacts a racial ideology which vilifies both the woman and her work as dirty, backward, and ‘Indian’ (187). However, it should be noted that the rising class of indigenous merchants use the same categories to emphasise the growing social gaps between themselves and poorer traders.

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based on legitimate trade. They are not seen as successful traders, but are often dismissed as ‘narco-traffickers’ whose success is seen as a threat to the legitimate white-mestizo economy. Similarly, successful traders in the street markets of the Historic Centre are classified as smugglers, illegally importing goods from neighbouring Colombia, a charge which may have historical roots but for which, as a generalisation, there is little evidence at present. Some of them do have import –export businesses, trading with Peru and Columbia, but they are much more likely to be selling goods produced in the rural areas or manufactured by their children when they are not studying. Tocago´n (1997: 199) laments their socio-economic integration into the mestizo city and the acculturation that results, particularly, but not exclusively, with the children of indigenous migrants. Mestizo racism subjects indigenous people and other informal traders to criticism as they work in urban spaces, and their very existence is seen as a danger to the body politic. Colloredo-Mansfield (1998: 192– 193) argues that people emerging from their fields to find work in the cities “pose a danger to white-mestizo power and society as they advance economically or move physically into schools, shops, government offices and other institutional settings”. Their presence in the historic city centre is seen by many middleclass Quiten˜os as an expression of this threat to the well-being of themselves and the city. On the other hand, some indigenas consider whites to be devils and profoundly untrustworthy. This is reinforced by the political process and in Quito it has not been helped by the action of the Municipio, leading to Quito’s traders believing in the fundamental untrustworthiness of the white-mestizo planners. In the same way that the rural poor distrust formal political institutions, urban informal traders feel the same about planners, with good historical reason. There has nevertheless been a political agenda of incorporation, which seeks to integrate the traders into the official political system –as expressed in the Mayor’s need for the traders’ votes. Mahuad sought this support when he made his bid for the mayorship in 1996, making promises to support them in their struggle to save their places of work.13 His response to this issue once he was in power was to set up a Commission to deal with the informal traders’ demands. Dominated by planners and architects, however, the Commission’s main concern was to reclaim the buildings and monuments for international tourism and to negotiate the traders out of the streets. When the traders occupied the Municipio in 1997, in response to what they perceived to be a municipal threat to their livelihood, their cries included:14 “We don’t want a Commission, we want Jamil” “We don’t want liars” “Down with the liars, down with demagoguery” “Listen Jamil, we are in the struggle” “For our vote he sought us out, now he is in hiding” “We threw out Abdala, now who will it be, we threw out Abdala and Jamil will follow him” “The Commission did not work, we want the Mayor”. 13 14

Interviews with the street traders during the occupation of the City Council Buildings, mentioned above. The rhythm of the chants is lost in the translation.

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The traders, with good reason, did not trust the Commission and the planners and they were not satisfied with being voting fodder. In addition, they did not want merely to be left in peace to carry out their traditional trading activities. Confirming what was clear in the meeting with the residents, they wanted to be involved in the new developments that were taking place in the historic centre and to participate in the benefits that would accrue from any tourism development. That is, there was a clash of cultures which was related to different material interests, but there was still an opportunity at this point to create the circumstances where everyone would benefit. A solution to the problem required that the traders recognise that they could not pursue their narrow interests against all others, no matter what. During the occupation of the Municipio, discussions with the traders made it clear that they accepted this, but they did not wish to acknowledge it in their negotiations with the council. A council which genuinely sought the participation of the residents and users in the design and future strategies for the Historic Centre of Quito would have encouraged the non-trader residents of the area to remind the traders that they too have to be taken into account. The solution also requires, however, that the planners make an effort to change their perspective from one of ‘control’, to one which promotes an ‘enabling environment’. Elements of control are necessary, but this should not be the defining characteristic of a strategy for the economic regeneration of the HCQ. The culture of the planners was most clearly expressed in the bye-laws that define the relationship between the planners and the traders. Ordinance 2796 of 1990 (Municipio de Quito, 1990) had a preamble which expressed the idea that the street traders were creatively trying to earn a living in difficult circumstances and that they had something positive to contribute to the future of the city. After classifying and defining the different types of activities, however, the Ordinance then set out a series of ‘obligations’ for the traders, in language which was entirely restrictive and negative. This was followed by a section that identified the areas where the traders were not allowed to operate, saying nothing about where it was possible to operate. The concept of ‘permission’ was central to the Ordinance, without reference to any benefits that might accrue to the traders. Sections on ‘vigilance and control’ and ‘sanctions and their application’ confirmed the totally negative content at the heart of the Ordinance. It then went on to deal with tariffs and the obligations of the traders’ organisations. The initial recognition that the traders may have something to offer was totally subsumed by a repressive core that said nothing about the obligations or duties of the council, beyond control. The draft of a new Ordinance in 1997 was even worse in this respect (Municipio de Quito, 1997b). It dispensed with the positive introduction of the 1990 document and moved directly to reinforce everything that was negative in Ordinance 2796. Unfortunately, it was also devoid of some of the positive attributes of the Operative Plan for Informal Commerce in the Historic Centre, which also recognised the positive potential of the traders (Municipio de Quito, n.d.). The draft Ordinance added new regulations and obligations and increased the possibility that the only outcome from the process would be conflict. The draft was a clear expression of the mind-set of the planners of the Central Zone. The planners’ obsession with control and authorisation was expressed in the definitions of different types of traders that were set out in the new Draft Ordinance of 1997 and these can be compared with the Ordinance of 1990, as follows:

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Ordinance 2796 of 1990, said: (a) Stable traders: Permanent and cyclical, are those people who carry out their commercial activity in a defined public space. (b) Street traders: Permanent and cyclical, are those who sell their goods in a clearly identified area. The draft of the new Ordinance of 1997, said (italics added): (a) Permanent traders, fixed or stable: are those people who carry out their commercial activity in a public space that is defined and authorised. (b) Seasonal traders: are those who sell their goods in specific places and for periods that are authorised. (c) Street or mobile traders: are those who carry out their commerce throughout an area that has been clearly defined and authorised. The authoritarian values of planners in Quito found clear expression in the ways in which different types of traders were conceived of in the new draft and they presented a contrast with the enabling role of the Empresa which had been set up to promote both the physical and socio-economic regeneration of the area. The new definitions, which are over-elaborate and not mutually exclusive, tried to impose the planners perceptions on reality, such that only those traders who are ‘authorised’ can be defined as traders. On this basis, the vast majority of the street traders in Quito would have been defined out of existence, for they are not authorised. Since they would not have gone away, however, the scene was set for their forcible removal. Of course, any new definitions of street traders should take into account what is actually happening on the streets and it should also be related to strategic decisions about the future of the informal commerce (Middleton, 1997). If the question is how to incorporate the street traders into a wider strategy for economic regeneration that will also benefit the residents of the area and the city as a whole, this requires a reorientation of the planners with respect to the informal traders, without losing sight of the fact that they have the interests of all citizens to consider. The 1997 report proposed that an enabling strategy would define traders differently, with greater emphasis placed on their creative development potential and less on authorisation. Given the history of planning in Quito, it is not surprising that the ordinances emphasise control. However, in order to achieve the Council’s development objectives, it was argued that the planners must take on board the idea that they do not only have control functions, but also development and enabling functions. In particular, it was important that the planners recognise an economic development responsibility that supports the well being of small firms within the context of overall city development. In this context a new approach to the street traders was required. A more modern approach would be one that is based on an economic relationship, rather than on paternalism and/or authoritarianism

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CHAPTER 5 Redefining the relationship between planners and informal traders 5.1. Post-1997 proposals The complexity of the problems of informal commerce in the Historic Centre of Quito calls for an approach whereby the planners and the traders’ organisations would have to break from their ‘all or nothing positions’. For example, introducing new actors into the discussions, such as the residents of the HCQ, would modify the terms of the debate. The traders, at the level of the individual and organisation would also benefit from training and there are other issues relating to tenure, location, management, credit and social welfare that could be explored. Improving the relations between the planners and the traders is an essential first step. In order to improve these relations, the definitions of informal traders which are used by the planners would have to be reconsidered, for these define the types of relationships which exist or are possible between the traders and the planners. The 1997 report proposed that, for example, in the interest of reordering the space and moving towards a more economic basis for street trade rather than the present paternalistic orientation of control, there should be only two types of street trader—‘Stable’ and ‘Occasional’: Stable traders would be those who operate in a defined space, which would be agreed with the planners, up to 7 days a week. These traders would rent their stall from the Municipio on an annual basis and would not need to seek permission as such. There would be no temporary or cyclical traders in the HCQ with fixed stalls. Occasional traders would be those who worked on a temporary basis, including mobile traders. These would not be allocated a fixed space but would operate within an agreed area, for which permission would be required. They would not have stalls and they would renew their permission on an annual basis. In this conceptualisation, the concept of permission would only be retained for occasional traders. A clarification of the difference between the fixed-place permanent traders who would rent a stall from the Municipio and the occasional traders, who would require permission to work in the streets, would allow the former to develop in a stable climate and could lead to the stable traders collaborating with the Council over the position of the occasional traders. Thus, it would be possible to reorganise the activities in the centre in a new way. In 1997, the consultant’s report also proposed that the planners should continue to work with the traders’ organisations at all levels. As we have seen above, however, there was a hierarchical organisational structure: the Front, on the one hand, represented the organisations which operate at the level of the street or block; and, on the other hand, these lower level organisations pursued the interests of individuals or small groups of traders. In addition, the organisations that were members of the Front were not homogenous in pursuing their interests. The Front was more concerned with strategic issues in the defence of workplaces, while the lower level organisations had particular

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interests at the street level that related to day-to-day issues. Up to that point in time, these smaller organisations had been concerned with obtaining permission for their members to use certain street locations. If the planners were to adopt a new position in relation to the use of the streets, this relationship would necessarily change. If, for example, in addition to a change in the discourse, the Municipio were to produce street stalls, which were to be placed in precisely defined locations and which were to be rented to the traders, this would completely redefine the relationship with these traders. Changing the relationship would obviously take time and it could not deal immediately with all the difficulties in the area around Ipiales. It was thought that as a first step, however, it could be initiated in other parts of the HCQ, where it would act as a demonstration project for other traders. The Ipiales area required a different strategy but, eventually, changing the nature of the relationship could also help to reduce the extent to which the stable traders use mobile traders to sell their goods in the streets away from their stalls. In the process of renting stalls, rather than giving permission to use space, the planners would be able to ensure the rational use of space in the HCQ.15 Periodic inspection would ensure that the stall was being used as agreed and the stallholders, as part of their terms of rent, could be asked to take responsibility for the management of the space around the stalls. In order to support trading as a developmental activity, however, the operation of the new economically based rental system should be based on the concepts of price and security. The price mechanism could assist the Council to move towards cost recovery for the services they provide to the traders and security of tenure would be an aspect of the contract between the Council and the traders that did not exist at that time. In 1997, the cost of the permits did not cover more than a fraction of the cost of the management and maintenance of the streets used by informal traders. The loss to the Municipio was unsustainable and it was clear that the present level of subsidy that existed within the permit system could not continue. It was therefore also clear that if this system were to be maintained, the costs of permits would have to rise substantially. In 1997, less than 1500 traders out of an estimated 6500 had permission to trade. The introduction of a new rental system would not be easy, for any potential increase in stallholder costs would be resisted by most of them. There were, however, some traders and street-level organisations that would have been willing to pay more to achieve stability. In order to ease the path for the introduction of a new rental system, the cost of permits for any new traders would need to rise substantially before it was put in place.16 In the subsequent transfer to the new system, the cost of renting could then be set below the cost of the permits for new traders, and it was proposed that those participating in the demonstration project could be given 1 year’s rent free use of the street furniture. The real 15

It was proposed that the planners would also have direct contact with the traders, who would be registered by location, name, identity card number and type of product on sale. There would be no need to renew a permit annually, although rents would be reviewed on an annual basis. The rent would be paid monthly or every 6 months. 16 Those currently registered and paying would have a lower tariff than those who were not yet registered. A cutoff date for registration of current traders would be set, after which they would be considered to be new traders and therefore pay a substantially higher tariff.

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cost of this would be the loss of 1 year’s income from permits, which is extremely low, and the cost of the stalls. Thereafter, the rent could cover the replacement costs of the stalls and the cost of maintenance of the areas around them, taking into account the possibility of the traders assuming responsibility for keeping the areas around their stalls clean. Security of tenure would completely transform the relationship between the council and the traders since it would introduce, for the first time, the idea that the traders had rights as well as obligations. Renting would involve both parties, the Municipio and the trader, signing an agreement that sets out the rights and obligations on both sides. This would be a legally binding contract and would satisfy the Council’s desire to legalise the position of the traders. It would not, however, be unreasonable with respect to the obligations that are expected of the traders and it would recognise that as landlords the Municipio also has obligations. The contract would make most of the content of the proposed new Ordinance redundant and conformity with the contract would provide security for the trader. Abuse would mean cancellation of the contract and, if the council failed on its part, the trader would have recourse to law.17 With a view to achieving the council’s objective of increasing the attractiveness of the Historic City Centre for international tourism, one condition of the contract could be that the trader does not cause damage to buildings. The contract could also stipulate that the Municipio would accept no responsibility for such damage, and the council could also support building owners who wished to take recourse to law for damage caused to any building.18 In the meantime, while the permission system was in operation, the Municipio could provide free legal advice to owners whose buildings had been damaged. The planners in the Municipio were also deeply concerned that market places and street places were being sold between traders. They argued that there was no basis in law for this since, in their conception, what was being transferred was permission to operate. Street places had changed hands for 6 million sucres and market stalls could fetch as much as 30 –40 million sucres. While these transfers certainly had no standing in law, and may in fact have been an integral part of a set of corrupt practices whereby the leaders of streetlevel organisations also took a percentage of the transfer price, the Municipio did not recognise that this is a common practice in business. It would be seen as quite illogical, for example, if the Municipio were to insist that formal businesses could not be sold because the premises were rented, but this logic was not applied to the street traders. They were 17

This system could be computer-controlled, the basis of which already existed within the remnants of the Directorate of Markets. 18 Stalls would need to be redesigned. The report proposed that there should be two types—one that would be suitable for placing close to, but not hard against, the walls of buildings and one that would occupy a central location in some streets. The stalls would be stable, which implies adjustable legs for uneven streets and pavements, so that the traders would not have to fix them to the walls of buildings. A fitted polythene canopy would also be provided, the replacement of which would be the financial responsibility of the trader. Following discussions with the Front and building on the work already done by the Municipio, one of these projects would work with a street-level organisation in the area away from Ipiales where there is already a semblance of order and where the stallholders have indicated a willingness to regularise their position. A second would be set up in a part of a street which at the present time does not have any street vendors but where an orderly and controlled use of the street for this purpose would not be to the detriment of the overall townscape.

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clearly not viewed in the same way as other businesses. A formal renting system would not attempt to stop the sale of ‘goodwill’ or the street equivalent of ‘key money’.19 A parallel negotiation to this would be over the area around Ipiales. It is clear from the earlier discussion that resolving the problems of the area around Ipiales is more problematical than in some of the other streets in the HCQ. In these other streets, the layout tends to be more regular and the relations with the smaller trader organisations are not as difficult as those with the groups located in and around Ipiales. A way out of the impasse would have been to work with some of the non-Ipiales traders to demonstrate a change of attitude and show them what is possible if relations were to improve generally and, in particular, if they were to be modernised such that paternalistic and/or authoritarian relationships were to be replaced with economic relationships. At the time, the traders had indicated that they wished to construct a two-storey market in the Plaza Hermano Miguel and the planners had indicated that they would have liked to have moved the traders to 24 de Mayo; and there was a long term possibility that the current inter-provincial bus terminal could be brought into use if a proposal for the resiting of the terminal could be carried forward. There were, however, a number of problems with the proposal for the two-storey market. The planners wanted to retain this as a public space and there was a fear that, if it were built, it would not be used as intended. That is, it would be under-used or used as a storage area; or, if traders were moved into it, others would immediately replace them on the streets. The 1997 report proposed, however, that it would be possible to negotiate an agreement with the traders in which: (a) permission to build is conditional on the immediate removal of traders from around buildings of architectural interest, such as the Merced; (b) all traders in selected streets move into the building or into the 24 de Mayo between Guayaquil and Garcia Moreno (‘one in, all in’); (c) the traders and the planners would collaborate to ensure that those who moved were not replaced in the streets by others; (d) the 24 de Mayo would be given an identity, such as a clothes market; (e) the planners would help to promote the new market places; (f) the management of the markets would pass to the traders; (g) training programmes would be set up according to the needs of the traders; (h) alternative credit possibilities would be explored, with a view to the traders’ associations operating as credit unions or rotating credit associations; (i) means of extending social welfare provision would be explored. 19

Such transfers, however, would not be part of the legal agreement between the Municipio and the traders and the Municipio would need to make it clear that all new tenancy agreements would have to be processed in the normal manner. In this new system, however, the Municipio would not, for its part, unreasonably refuse tenancies. Each trader would register by name, address, identity card number, location of stall, type of product and size of stall. Identity card numbers would be crosschecked instantaneously at the time of registration to avoid traders owning more than one stall unless agreed. Some traders would wish to rent larger stalls than others. The stalls could be of standards sizes but it would also be possible to rent two stalls together in designated places at twice the rent. This would provide an additional control over the use of space while allowing flexibility for the trader. Multiple family ownership, however, could be permitted provided the identity card holder was an adult and operated the stall. Sanctions for failure to operate the stall could be written into the contract.

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Introducing new actors into the discussion would also have had the effect of reducing the levels of antagonism that existed. We have noted that the meeting with the residents of the HCQ indicated a positive orientation towards the changes that were taking place and they wanted to participate fully in the regeneration of the area. In particular, they were interested in obtaining employment and having access to other income generating opportunities that would develop on the basis of any increase in the volume of tourism in the HCQ and, in common with the residents of inner city areas throughout the world, they wanted to see an improvement in security in the area. These interests and concerns were expressed without antagonism towards the traders. In fact, some of the householders and their families in the meeting were also informal traders who shared the interests, fears and aspirations of the other residents. In addition, as was the case in the Southern Zone of the city, the households of the HCQ use the services provided by the informal traders. They are part of the same social and economic circuits. Nevertheless, while the resident population of the HCQ has been decreasing over time, there are still more than twice as many households as there are traders and this fact could provide the basis for diffusing conflict. Through the use of community participation techniques, issues of common interest could have been expressed in terms of physical, social, economic and environmental aspirations that would help to modify the discourse about the historic centre. If the cultural and organisational barriers between the traders and the planners in Quito could have been broken down and a new era of collaboration had emerged, the city’s experience could have served as a model for similar problems that exist in other Third World cities. At the time, the main model that existed in Latin America was the Lima model, whereby the traders were forcibly removed from the city centre. 5.2. Post-1997 reality Following the consultant’s report, which set out general guidelines on how to approach the problem of street traders, the Empresa commissioned a Master Plan for Informal Commerce in the Historic Centre of Quito (Herrera and Cordova, 1998). Subsequently, the three agencies responsible for planning and land use in the HCQ—the Empressa, the General Directorate of Planning and the Administration of the Central Zone—were brought together to form a Unit for the Planning and Management of the Plan and, in collaboration with FONSAL, the Markets Directorate and consultants, this unit produced a Plan for the Modernisation and Ordering of Popular Commerce in Quito (Municipio de Quito, 1999). This ‘Modernisation Plan’ focused almost entirely on the problems of the HCQ and, in particular, on the area around the Ipiales Market. The analysis carried out by the Master Plan provided the foundation for the Modernisation Plan. Unfortunately, the Master Plan was written entirely from the perspective of the municipal planners and completely ignored the interests of the street traders. The advice of the previous reports about the need to seriously engage with the street traders in a participatory manner was ignored and the remit was written in such a way as to ensure that the outcome would legitimise the position of the planners with respect to the traders. In the process of setting up this study, the enabling perspective of the Empresa, which included broad social and economic aims that incorporated the interests of the traders, was replaced

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by a politicised bureaucratic approach that naively assumed that the traders could be bypassed by commissioning a report that would inevitably confirm the validity of the position of the council planners and support the views of the middle and upper classes of the city. By posing questions that were based on their negative perceptions of the traders and reflected the planners’ frustration with the failure of the dialogue with them, the council hoped to produce an outcome that would justify their own version of the ‘Lima solution’. The key expected outcomes from the Master Plan were set out as follows (Herrera and Cordova, 1998: 1): In the urban, architectural and environmental sphere, there is a need to direct actions towards the recovery of urban space presently occupied by the activities of informal commerce. In the normative sphere for which there is municipal responsibility, it is essential to establish the regulations that control the operation of the sales activities of the informal traders. This approach, with its emphasis on the recovery of the space and the control of the traders, was facilitated by the definition of ‘informal’ that the authors of the report used. Following the approach of de Soto (1989) in his analysis of the Peruvian informal sector, the definitions of formal and informal activity was based on a legalistic interpretation of their reality: formal activities are those that are “regulated by laws and norms in different fields—societal, fiscal, municipal, financial and even spatial in the urban sphere”, while “informality consists precisely in that it radically breaks with all these conventions” (Herrera and Cordova, 1998: 2). In the urban sphere, informal commerce breaks “all the rules of the use of streets, squares and public parks, provoking negative impacts that are in many cases severe” (Herrera and Cordova, 1998). Given this approach to the concept of informal activity, emphasising the lack of legality and regulation, the study inevitably came to a conclusion that emphasised the need for regulation by laws and the enforcement of bye-laws. Starting with a remit that identified the need to recover urban space and the need to establish regulations which will control the activities of the traders, it reinforced this with a definition which stressed legality and ignored their economic function. The scene was set for the production of a Master Plan for Informal Commerce in the Historic Centre of Quito which would ultimately depend on the use of force for achieving its aims. In the assumptions of the Master Plan, all the problems of the city centre were blamed on the traders: increases in the level of environmental contamination, including noise contamination; personal insecurity; the deterioration of the buildings and the squares; the under-utilisation of buildings; the change of use from residential to commercial; transport congestion; bother for pedestrians, residents and others using the areas occupied by the traders; the presence of delinquents; and the growth in the expenditures of the Municipio on maintaining the central zone (Herrera and Cordova, 1998: 1, 41). There were no positive assumptions about their potential future role. The main aims were to ‘rationalise and organise informal commerce’ through the exercise of control over street sales to limit the scope of their activities, to contribute to the mitigation of the negative effects which they provoke, and to ‘recover the urban space’ which was occupied by the informal

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traders. The starting point for the analysis was “to identify the characteristics of the negative impacts which the presence of the informal traders produce in the streets and squares in the Historic Centre of Quito” (Herrera and Cordova, 1998: 1). The idea that the traders had anything to contribute was, therefore, not to be considered. Their economic contribution to the economy of the city and nation was set aside and the question of their potential contribution to the development of tourism in Quito was ignored. The other tasks set for the consultants were to: propose strategies to limit street trade; propose alternatives for removing street traders from public places; and identify other parts of the city where they could be relocated. The consultants were not asked to consider how these objectives would be received by the traders. As an expression of the values of the planners in the context of a struggle for power that sought to redefine social and spatial relations and transform the cultural life of the city, the content of the Master Plan serves to expose the political nature of tourism policy. However, the same mistakes that had characterised the history of planning in Quito resurfaced: despite the fact that they were linked to the political party in power, the planners were unable to connect with the underlying political realities of the time. It was not that the consultants did not recognise the social and economic issues associated with the task they were asked to perform, for their analysis of the characteristics of the problem did include a brief acknowledgment of them, but the remit was clearly designed to cut through these complexities and deal with the one dimension of the problem that concerned the planners—clearing the space for an international tourist elite. It is not surprising that, when it was published, the Master Plan was totally rejected by the traders.20 As was intended from the outset, regulation was to increase, control was to be strengthened, and their presence was to be legalised through the setting up of a register and the use of identity cards. If a different approach had been used, there were other aspects of the Master Plan that could have been negotiated with the traders. There were, for example, proposals for the creation of commercial centres in the city centre and elsewhere, the provision of technical assistance and credit for the informal traders, the modernisation of the council’s administration of the stalls used by the traders, and assistance with the modernisation of their representative organisations. However, not all traders were to benefit from the Plan. An important element of the proposals was a strategy for divide and rule, which was subsequently adopted by the city and which was to have serious political repercussions. It advised the city council that “for the negotiation with the associations over the fulfilment of the Plan, it is necessary to implement a strategy similar to that used in Lima” (Herrera and Cordova, 1998: 48). That is, the Council ought to work only with those traders who were in agreement with the Master Plan and who wanted to work with the Council. It went on to say that “the success of the strategy depends on the competition between associations” (Herrera and Cordova, 1998: 48). The consultants pointed out that some organisations were weak because of the lack of recognised leadership and limited democratic practice and they suggested that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) would have an important role to play in the strategy. 20

Interview with Paulina Burbano, Director of the Empresa, July 2000.

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They proposed that NGOs ought to be used to strengthen the management capacities of those organisations that could ensure the successful implementation of the Plan. In effect, the NGOs would be ‘of vital importance’ for the relocation of the traders and could ensure their compliance with the bye-laws for the use of the streets and public places. The NGOs would provide training, but only for compliant traders. At the same time, channels of information were to be opened up between the council and the people of Quito in order to ensure that the Council’s perspective on the traders was communicated widely. Ultimately, however, it was thought to be of primary importance that the Mayor should make a ‘firm and clear’ pronouncement in support of the Master Plan. “The execution of the strategy needs an unyielding and very tough political decision” and there should be no negotiation over the general principles of the Plan (Herrera and Cordova, 1998: 47– 48). Through these proposals, the Master Plan prepared the ground for breaking the fragile cooperation amongst the informal traders, but this created an even greater political problem for the future governance of the city. In January 1999 Roque Sevilla, the Mayor of Quito, announced that there would be not a single informal trader left on the streets of the HCQ by the middle of the year (Ultimas Noticas, 22.1.99). His priority, he said, was to deal with crime and the lack of security on the streets, and one of the ways to deal with this was to end the disorganisation in the Historic Centre; the street traders generated opportunities for violence and for this reason he was to get rid of them by July 1999. The street traders, still united in the Front at this point, rejected the mayor’s intentions saying that he was not listening to them. They wanted the Municipio to look at the possibility of buying and renovating old buildings in the CHQ and building new commercial centres. They insisted that they would not accept being moved to other parts of the city. Angelita Vega, leader of the Front, stated that “we are not opposed to the changes that are proposed for the Historic Centre, we are only asking that the Mayor takes the views of the small traders into account” (El Comercio, 27.1.99). A General Assembly of traders was called and the Front organised a march on the Municipio. The traders delivered a document to the Municipio containing three main points: their refusal to leave the HCQ; a proposal for the remodelling and upgrading of a number of buildings as commercial centres; and a demand that, if they do move off the streets, no one else should be allowed to take their place. Following the march, the traders’ leaders sat down with the architects and planners of the Central Zone Administration, the Planning Directorate of the Municipio and the Empresa. The traders told the Municipio that they wanted to buy their own places in the markets and not depend on the council in the future, and they asked the mayor to look for the finance that was needed to build new commercial centres in the HCQ. The architect/planners agreed that they were open to suggestions and the council officers and traders took to the streets to identify potential buildings and spaces for the new or remodelled markets (El Commercio, 5.2.99). At the same time as this was happening, the mayor gave an interview in which he stated again that “by 31 July there will not be a single street trader left in the streets of the Historic Centre” (Hoy, 5.2.99). This was necessary, he said, not only because it affected tourism and the image of Quito, but also because there is unequal competition between the street traders and the formal traders who pay their taxes. Some of the traders would be able to stay in the centre and others would be moved to the north and the south of the city. When

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pressed on whether there would be forced removal he said that this was a ‘bad interpretation’ of what was happening, but the process should be completed by 31st July and that those who did not comply “would be subject to the legal regulations”. He insisted that the process would be different from that of Lima, in that they would use dialogue, not apply repression, but he went on to explain this further by saying: “We will present the alternatives and the date for the relocation and, if we don’t get collaboration, then the police will intervene” (Hoy, 5.2.99). The following day, commercial activity in the HCQ was paralysed. Ipiales Market closed down completely and the traders took to the streets with anti-Sevilla placards rejecting his proposals. Other commercial activity across the city also came to a standstill and traders from markets outside the HCQ took part in the demonstrations (La Hora, 6.2.99). In response to this activity, the President of the Commission for Historic Areas argued that it was important for the council to increase tourism in the centre of Quito, that tourists want to see a different city: we cannot project a good image if the monuments have been converted into petty markets “where none of the norms of hygiene are observed” (La Hora, 8.2.99). She reiterated that there was no going back and that by the end of July there would not be a single trader left on the streets of the centre of Quito. The headmaster of a local school contributed the view that the indigenous fruit and vegetable traders who occupied the street next to his school on 2 days a week not only left their rubbish behind but that their children were using the public spaces as toilets and, because of the human congestion, there was danger of assault on the streets. The negotiation between the traders and the planners continued, with the traders confirming that they would not be moved to other parts of the city and the Municipio saying that they needed to be moved out of Mejia Street by April, when the city transport department would begin street widening. Two thousand traders in Mejia and Cotopaxi and Plaza Hermano Miguel would be moved in the first stage. A further 3000 traders in the Sucre, Bolivar, Cuenca and Mideros would be moved into a commercial centre which would be ready in Venezuela by June. The traders were asking that no movement should take place until December but, in line with the recommendations of the Master Plan, the Mayor and the planners were ‘unyielding’ (La Hora, 13.2.99). A few days later, the participants in the dialogue were reminded of the Lima solution. Urban violence escalated in City of Lima when the police tried to displace the traders from a commercial area of the city (Hoy, 19.2.99). It was at this stage that the division within the street traders began to deepen. An agreement was reached between the council and the Front that 1500 traders of Mejia would be relocated in the multi-storey car park at El Tejar and in the Ipiales Commercial Centre, but under two conditions: that the new places were totally equipped and that no one else was allowed to occupy the streets after they had left them. “If we see that other traders occupy the spaces that we leave, in that moment we will return to the streets” (Vega quoted in Hoy, 20.2.99). Vega also warned that there was a group of traders who were disposed to take the places in the car park and Ipiales Commercial Centre by force and she asked the Council to protect the sector to avoid violence between the two groups of traders. As the dialogue was developing, it was clearly in line with the divisive proposal of the Master Plan, in that it would only take place with some of the traders.

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The removal of the street traders was seen by the Mayor as the most important challenge of his time in office and he set 22nd July as the final date for this to happen, despite the pleas from the traders to extend the deadline. Seven buildings were identified to accommodate them. These were the Hermano Miguel car park, (‘el Tejar’), Plaza Hermano Miguel, Ipiales Commercial Centre, La Merced Commercial Centre, Mideras Commercial Centre the Granada Cinema and the old slaughterhouse (el Camal) in the South of the City. By 22nd March 1999, the work which the transport department was due to carry out in Mejia Street had been postponed. The Commercial Centres at El Tejar and Ipiales were not yet ready. The city council lacked the resources to complete the work and the traders asked them to defer the relocation for another year (Hoy, 24.3.99) or at least until after the Christmas season (La Hora, 15.4.99). It was also at this time that the head of the Central Zone Administration was replaced by an architect-planner from the Empresa who had been dealing with the street traders and who was more sympathetic to a negotiated settlement with them. In addition, the Plan for the Modernisation and Ordering of Popular Commerce in Quito was being finalised. The Modernisation Plan was launched on 20th April 1999 (Municipio de Quito, 1999). The Plan proposed to relocate 6109 street traders in nine locations, four of which were outside the HCQ. It would begin to be put into effect in August, the first building to be occupied would be the car park at El Tejar, and the others would be ready by October 1999. The traders could either buy or rent their places, the majority being for sale, and the cost of each place would vary according to size and location within the commercial centres. The average cost of buying a stall would be 26 million sucres (US $1040). This was more than double the 12 million sucres (US $480) that the traders had said they would pay in February of 1999 and five times the 5 million sucres (US $200) they said they could afford in March. Payment could be made in cash or by credit, in sucres or dollars. The Plan contained a number of assumptions which were either erroneous or were contested by the street traders. In general and historical terms, there was a lack of appreciation of the nature of ‘informality’ and its origins in Quito. Failing to acknowledge over 100 years of conflict between the council and street traders, it argued that the arbitrary use of public space in the HCQ by informal traders did not start until the 1980s. What is important here is not that this is a factual error, but that it gives a further insight into the ways in which the planners were interpreting their world, failing to recognise the deeprooted historical struggle over the use of urban space in the city. They did recognise the present relations between the Municipio and the traders were conflictive and fragile, but it was the planners view that the faults lay entirely with the traders, in that they were only interested in opportunistic relations that would guarantee their permanence in the streets and they had no interest in modernising the sector. This flew in the face of all the negotiations that had taken place over the previous 3 months about the rehabilitation, construction and ownership of commercial centres in the HCQ. The Modernisation Plan did recognise that the Municipio had, until then, acted to prohibit, restrict and repress popular commerce and that there was scope for institutional change towards a more supportive approach. The language of the ‘fundamental principles’ of the Modernisation Plan reflected this change, using concepts like transparency, efficiency, promotion, facilitate and harmonise, as well as pointing to the need to standardise the spatial development of popular commerce in Quito. By the end of

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the century, Quito would have a modern system of popular trade, understood not only in terms of the orderly use of physical space, but also in relation to “the important social, economic, political-institutional, environmental and cultural conditions” of the traders (Municipio de Quito, 1999: 6). The discourse in the principles of the Plan did not, however, reemerge in its objectives. Its objectives for the HCQ were to reorder the land use and change its image for the development of tourism. These objectives led to three strategies: clarifying the number of traders in the HCQ, recovering the public space and dispersing and reordering informal trade. The language of modernisation, therefore, did not affect the basic objectives of the planners and the supportive concepts did not translate into a change in their practice. Over the week following the launch of the Plan on 20th April, ‘consultations’ took place with the traders, at which the planners explained the detailed proposals and the traders’ responses were ‘noted’. On 3rd May, there was a small demonstration outside the Municipal Buildings by the traders who occupied the Plaza Hermano Miguel and the commercial centres of La Merced and Ipiales, who did not want other traders to take over their places of work. This was not supported by the Front. The leaders of the Front, for their part, insisted that they would not leave the streets unless the prices of the places were reduced, there were guarantees that all the informal traders would be relocated, and the length of time for the process was extended (El Commercio, 4.5.99). The Mayor announced that 1400 traders had agreed to move and he declared that he would only speak to the representatives of the traders and not politicians. He claimed that, in the previous days, members of political parties had tried to intervene in the negotiations (Hoy, 6.5.99). Coming from a politician, what this meant was that some of those representing the traders were his political opponents. As the dialogue developed, the Front for the Defence of the Small Traders of the Historic Centre split into two organisations and a rival Board for the Defence of the Small Traders of the Historic Centre was set up.21 As the Front became more closely allied with the political ambitions and the party of Mayor Roque Sevilla (whose political party, Popular Democracy, is the main Christian Democratic party in Ecuador), the Board wanted to take a more oppositional position, which was allied to the Socialist Party and the Movement for Popular Democracy (MDP). According to representatives of the Board, the split came because Vera and the Front were getting too close to Roque Sevilla, the Mayor, who was thought to be favouring members of his own party.22 The traders were set against each other and the ground was laid for a bloody confrontation. In some aspects of the Modernisation Plan, the planners had returned to some of the proposals of the 1997 consultancy report. They agreed with the traders that they would build the market on the Plaza Hermano Miguel, which the traders had been asking for and the planners had opposed. This agreement was dependent on all traders in selected streets moving into this and other renovated market buildings (“one in, all in”, in the words of the traders) and on collaboration between the traders and planners to ensure that those who moved would not be replaced on the streets by others.23 Training programmes were set up 21 22 23

Interview with Victor Granda, originally the lawyer for the Front and later for the Board, July 2000. Interview with Victor Granda. Interview with Paulina Burbano, July 2000.

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for the traders, although not the range of programmes that was proposed by the 1997 Report: training for 4500 traders in business techniques and service to clients were arranged. It was accepted that the management of the market places would pass from the Municipio to the traders. However, by agreeing to offer the market stalls for sale rather than for rent, the city decided to take the 1997 recommendations on changing the nature of the relationship between the traders and the authorities a stage further than had been proposed previously. It was the proposal for the new building on Plaza Hermano Miguel that was ostensibly the breaking point for the fragile collaboration amongst the informal traders. In the new market place, the Municipio was to provide the basic infrastructure and the traders were to complete the finishings, including building internal dividing walls. The Administration of the Central Zone decided that the size of each place was to be 4.5 m2 and it was agreed that traders would buy them. This would create places for around 1000 traders in a new twostorey building. Five main points of conflict emerged: the size of the stalls in the new market; the number of stalls to be created; the cost of each place; who would get them; and what would happen to the informal traders in the Plaza Hermano Miguel whilst the new market was being constructed. The initial position of the Front before it split into two factions, was that they wanted the stalls to be twice the size proposed by the Municipio. Against this, the planners argued that the building that was being proposed would only hold 500 larger stalls. This was a key point of conflict for the street traders. Some of them wanted more of the small stalls, whilst those who had become part of the Board wanted larger stalls, in a larger building if necessary, which the planners resisted despite the fact that the Modernisation Plan the allocated 1300 spaces to the new building in Plaza Hermano Miguel. The Front had also argued, in the first instance, that they should be given the places free but some traders had later conceded that if they were to become the owners of the stalls, they should pay something for them. The break-away Board was still demanding that the Municipio should provide free stalls. As the discussions with the traders proceeded, the Municipio began to work more closely with the Front, led by Angelita Vela, and those who wanted larger stalls and did not want to pay for them, allied to the Socialist Party and MPD, were excluded from the process. In this sense, the Municipio followed the advice of the consultants who had carried out the diagnostic for the Plan and used the dispute over places and numbers to encourage a split. At this time, there was still no agreement about how many traders were located in the HCQ and when the traders’ organisation split this debate intensified, with the Front and the Board locked in a dispute over how many traders they represented. Throughout the negotiations, the leaders of the Front had been claiming that they represented 17 000 street traders in the HCQ. A census carried out for the Master Plan in 1998, however, reported that there were only 8000 traders in total in the area, of whom 6400 were ‘permanent’ traders. Of these, 1300 were located in existing markets and 5200 were in public spaces (Municipio de Quito, 1999).24 Given the unreliability of the numbers, the Plan assumed that there could be 15% error either way on the figure of 5200; that is, there were between 4500 and 6000 traders who would need to be relocated. For the purpose of the relocation 24

The figures in the Plan do not add up.

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exercise, the Municipio assumed that there would be 6000 traders who needed to be found new spaces, but they expected this number to fall once the spaces became available. Through the negotiation over the space for the traders, the planners agreed with the Front that they represented around 2500 traders and both argued that the Board only represented 500 traders, who they said wanted to take over the new building at Plaza Hermano Miguel for themselves. After a great deal of negotiation, the traders allied to the Mayor’s party accepted the proposals and, by July 2000, contracts had been drawn up with 2500 informal traders. Using the Municipio’s Communications Department, the planners were saying that there would be 2800 places in the commercial centres of Ipiales, el Tejar, la Merced, Montufar and Granada, and an additional 1000 stalls were to be created in Plaza Hermano Miguel bringing the total to 3800. A further 1000 places were being created in a new commercial centre in El Camal in the South of the city, leaving a shortfall of around 1200 places.25 According to the Modernisation Plan, however, the total number to be created in the HCQ was 3170.26 In July 2000, the size of Hermano Miguel was still under negotiation. If it were to be a two storey building as the planners were pressing for, (accommodating around 1000), if the 800 places in the car park at el Tejar included the 252 existing places that were being used as stores rather than retail outlets (as appeared to be the case), and if there were indeed 1000 who wanted to move to El Camal, the shortfall could have been as high as 2400 places or 40% of the 6000 permanent traders. It is not surprising that the 3500 traders who were not linked to the Mayor’s political party were concerned. In the six markets located in the HCQ, including Hermano Miguel, the cost of refurbishment and construction was in the region of $6 million, including the value of the land and the loss of the buildings for alternative uses.27 The BID was to provide $4.1 million credit to support the costs of construction and refurbishment. The cost per trader, including the value of the buildings and land that were being handed over to them, was $1500 each. The traders who were collaborating with the Municipio, however, were being offered the stalls for $170 if they paid for them outright and $240 if they paid in instalments. As a result, the traders who had aligned themselves with Popular Democracy would pay just over 10% of the total cost of construction and refurbishment to take ownership. Needless to say, some traders who were aligned to the party in control of the Council were buying more than one stall, while around 1400 traders, most of whom were allied to the Socialist Party and MPD, were excluded. The conflict over the proposed building of the commercial centre at the Plaza Hermano Miguel escalated before the foundations could be built.28 Those currently occupying the Hermano Miguel space were to be moved off the land while the market was being built and moved back into the 1400 spaces that were to be created if an extra floor was to be added. Discussions continued as to whether this building should be two or three storeys, for adding an extra floor would create a further 400 places.29 Negotiations broke down over the provision of alternative spaces during construction and the allocation of new stalls. 25 26 27 28 29

Depending on whose figures one accepts. Including 1300 in Plaza Hermano Miguel. Interview with Andrez Bueno of the Empresa, July 2000. Interview with Burbano, July 2000. Interview with Victor Granda, July 2000.

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The Municipio could not guarantee temporary accommodation to everyone but they said that the Front was to be allocated 900 spaces and the Board 500 during the construction phase. When the Zonal Administration wanted to take over the land so that the Empresa could start construction, the traders who were members of the Board refused to leave. With the encouragement of the Zonal Administration and the Empresa, the traders who were aligned to the Front took the land by force. They removed the other traders in a violent confrontation, before the bulldozers moved in to raze their stalls.30 By July 2000, the groundwork had started in Plaza Hemano Miguel and it was expected that it would take 9 –12 months to complete, after which the Board said their traders would move in. The work on the Ipiales Commercial Centre, on the edge of Plaza Hermano Miguel was complete and some of the places were already being taken up. El Camal was also nearing completion. Within a year, on the basis of “one in, all in”, the Empresa expected the streets of the HCQ to be cleared of informal traders, providing international tourists with untrammelled access to the buildings and monuments of Quito’s historic past. Roque Sevilla of Popular Democracy then lost the mayoral elections to General Paco Moncayo, representing the Socialist Party with the support of MPD. Through the division of the traders and the policy of divide and rule, the politicisation of tourist policy in the Historic Centre of Quito entered a new phase. The political nature of the policy had become explicit, and the traders were divided on party political grounds. The incoming populist/socialist Mayor made a commitment to bringing the traders together and finding a solution that did not exclude them from the benefits of the regeneration of the city centre.31 According to the new Director of Development, a far-reaching institutional reform of the city council has been carried out under the Mayor-ship of Moncayo and a new model has been produced for planning the future of the Metropolitan District of Quito (MDQ).32 The model has four levels: † A strategic Plan for the city, with 21 large programmes that are based on the Mayor’s electoral pledges. † A general land-use development plan, which identifies socio-economic aims for the use of land and therefore contains a socio-economic plan within it. † Sectoral plans for activities such as transport, housing, the environment, security, etc. † Plans for different sectors of the city. The overall aim is to improve the quality of life of the citizens of Quito in ‘hard’ or physical terms (housing, water, infrastructure, etc.) and ‘soft’ or social terms (security, ethics, etc.). At the same time, it seeks to strengthen democracy through a ‘Participatory Management System’ which links the perceived needs of barrios, sectors and zones to the central administration of the MDQ. In the Historic Centre, the confusion about departmental responsibilities has been tackled and there is now a clear division of responsibilities between the various municipal 30 31 32

Interview with officers of the Empresa. Interview with General Paco Moncayo, Mayor of Quito, July 2000. Interview with Diego Carrio´n, Director of Development of the Metropolitan District of Quito, April 2002.

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departments and companies, but within a system for cooperation between the institutional actors—the Empresa, FONSAL, the Administration of the Central Zone, etc. The view of the incoming administration was that over a period of 20 years around $250 million had been spent in the HCQ, with very little to show for it. There was no strategy for the area, no work programmes, only ad hoc spending. A strategy was put in place and all the responsible organisations were brought together to deliver it. There is a new Plan for the Historic Centre, covering 350 hectares, which is much more than the area covered previously by the Empresa (but similar to the larger HCQ area as it was originally defined). The Plan has five main policy areas: † † † † †

Recovering the HCQ as a residential area. Recovering Quito’s status as the capital of Ecuador. Solving the problems of informal commerce. Celebrating the religious life and culture of the city (its ‘intangible heritage’). Promoting tourism.

Themes running through this Plan are the maintenance of the diverse character of the Historic Centre, including commerce, and the promotion of co-existence. Key activities are the reconstruction of the underground water and sewage systems; putting in place a network of fibre optic cable to improve communication and allow a highly sophisticated CCTV security system to be installed (the ‘eye of the eagle’); a transit reform which will remove buses from the HCQ; support for the building of new housing; and the rationalisation of street trade. At the time of writing, the market at Plaza Hermano Miguel is once again under construction and the target is to enact the “one in, all in” policy in January 2003, after the congestion and chaos of the Christmas sales season. Through negotiation and agreement, the Municipio says that all the street traders will move off the streets at the same time, into the new building at Hermano Miguel and other commercial centres in the centre and around the city. The traders themselves agree that the policy will work.33 In the meantime, the market which was built by the previous administration at El Camal in the south of the city remains empty and the Ipiales Commercial centre, which sits alongside the new construction at Hermano Miguel, has less traders occupying it than it had 2 years ago. In the commercial centres, the traders will buy their places and they will take over their management after a transitional period and some training. There are, however, lingering doubts about the agreement that has been struck over Hermano Miguel. It will accommodate traders from both the Front and the Board, but the city’s Development Director, who was Dean of the Faculty of Architecture of the Catholic University, says it is too big, too ugly and there will be too great a concentration of traders in the one place. The building, which has nothing to commend it architecturally, will dominate that part of the CHQ and will be highly visible from key vantage points in and around the area. Bringing together 1400 traders from the Front and the Board in one place should reduce the tensions between these organisations, but aesthetically it may be a high price to pay. 33

Interviews with street traders in and around Ipiales, April 2002.

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The final date for the use of the $51 million credit that was provided by the IDB is October 2002. In June 2002, the Empresa and FONSAL were still waiting for the Government to provide them with national counterpart funding that it had promised when it signed the contract with the IDB on 13 October 1994 (El Comercio, 22 June 2002). In negotiations between the Mayor and the Minister of the Economy in January 2002, an agreement was reached that FONSAL was owed $16.4 million and that the Empresa was due to be paid $10.3 million. It was not clear what was holding up the payments but the political differences between the Christian Democratic Government and the Socialist city may not be insignificant. Without the funding, both the Empresa and FONSAL were arguing that important projects were being put at risk, including the relocation of the informal traders and the restoration of buildings in the Historic Centre that are important for the future of international tourism.

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CHAPTER 6 Conclusions The relationship between street traders and planners in Quito has been conditioned in recent years by the city council’s attempt to increase its share of the global tourist market. Its historic city centre is increasingly accessible to middle-class travellers from Europe and North America. Heritage tourism, however, is dependent on interpretations of history which can be contested by groups in society, particularly those groups which have suffered at the hands of colonial powers. Social, economic and cultural relations in the Latin America city are in a constant process of change, but the promotion of heritage by local elites throws the political nature of international tourism into sharp relief and it illuminates the continuity of the inequalities of the present with the past. The urban landscape reflects past inequalities and provides a context for new conflicts, which also express a history of meanings and interpretations. Modern planners and traders have different perspectives on the specific characteristics of an area, and they represent different interests in the debate about the role of historic monuments in the future of the city. Planners in Latin America have had an historical commitment to the removal of street traders from city centres, and their rational– technocratic approach to urban planning has obscured a cultural attachment to ideas which have racist roots and which deny the value of indigenous interpretations of history. In the historic centre of Quito, different social, economic and cultural interests come into conflict in this contested space. Planners, who believe they are acting in the public interest, side with local elites and are funded by international organisations to promote a particular interpretation of history, ignoring the political damage that the conflict can have on the specific object of their interest—tourist promotion. The reordering of the use of physical space in cities like Quito is not a complicated issue from a rational –technocratic point of view, but it cannot be achieved unless the organisational and cultural barriers on both sides are recognised and incorporated into the planning process. The informal street traders are a heterogeneous group, with a variety of types of linkages to the national economy and varying levels of income and wealth. Their internal structure is partly based on family and kinship inter-relationships, which link wholesalers, shop owners, fixed market traders and street traders; and it is partly based on purely business relations, sometimes involving expensive credit arrangements. The organisational structure of the traders, however, is not consistent across the whole of the Historic City Centre and different types of traders do have different interests. This is reflected in the organisations that represent the interests of the traders. Understanding this complexity is made difficult by the history of conflict and the assumptions which both sides bring to negotiations. These, in turn, are embedded in the cultures of the planners and the traders. If the planners are to achieve their objective of developing a successful international tourist destination in Quito, they must reflect on their paternalism, the racism which is deeply embedded in the middle-class world view in Ecuador, their fixation with control, and the history of repression which is associated with the traders. The street traders cannot pursue their narrow interests against all others, but this tendency cannot be successfully

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dealt with unless the planners reflect on their own position, bring other interests such as those of the residents into the discussion in a real and meaningful way, and try to incorporate the traders into the benefits which would accrue from the development of tourism in the city. It can appear to be easier to revert to control and authoritarian repression than to give these complex issues the attention they deserve and to develop a framework for action which emphasises the enabling functions and responsibilities of planners. To fail to go down this more complicated route, however, is to invite and promote levels of conflict that will have a negative effect on the promotion of international tourism. Relations between planners and street traders need to be modernised. Some examples of what could be done in Quito have been set out above. What is more important, however, is that planners understand their own history and socio-economic attachments in highly stratified societies, and appreciate how their attitudes and behaviour are conditioned by this context. It would be naive to assume that, following the changes suggested above, the relations between the planners and the traders would cease to be characterised by disagreement and negotiation. They would not. If the struggle for space is an aspect of the struggle for power and, through the pursuit of material interests, space becomes contested, we should expect conflict to continue. However, changing urban landscapes are expressions of the processes through which conflicts are resolved temporarily. The physical structure of the Latin American city, in particular, is the expression of a historical conflict over basic needs and the accumulation of wealth on a national and global scale. The growth of informal trade has a long history, but it has only recently become highlighted as a problem for international tourism. A city centre which has been abandoned by the middle and upper classes to the urban poor has been reevaluated for its heritage potential and successive political regimes are left to ponder whether it is possible to reconcile the conflicting interests which have been generated. The fundamental lesson to be learned is that the reordering of the markets and public spaces, along with the recovery of buildings of architectural interest and the rehabilitation of others for residential use, can result in local economic regeneration from which the market traders can also benefit, but only if planners in historic third world cities ask themselves how they can facilitate rather than control.

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Acknowledgements Part of the research for this paper was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

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