Insurgent Public Space: Spontaneous Vendor Food in Parking Lots

Szu-Yu Huang

Eating on board of a taco truck has been a favored topic around Puget Sound Region. The automobile culture has rooted American lifestyle since mid-20 century. However, the well equipped vehicles that carry food and serve hot dishes on boards have merged an innovative perspective of consuming food in public and have changed the usual use of parking lot and gas station corners. The exploration took six sites in Seattle metropolitan area, qualitative observations and brief interviews were conducted on site.

The taco truck urban landscape is intriguing, a segment of aggregate urban landscape, a juxtaposition of formal and informal, permanent and ephemeral use, as well as designed and impromptu activity. The purpose of this study focuses on what the influence of having food vendors in public realm are, how taco truck establishes its business legally in urban setting, and what types of sociocultural phenomena are usually associated with taco-truck can be found in the urban landscape.

The looseness characteristic of parking lot attracts unplanned business to establish its activity. Inasmuch as the concern of public health, governmental regulation reinforces the safety of food handling process and serving condition of vender food, such as taco truck. The energy of vibrant social interaction and dynamic cultural exchange flows in the insurgent public space-- taco truck on a parking lot.

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