Downtown DC BID Vending Kiosk Study

Modular Vending in Washington, D.C.
A Kit of Parts

The modular vending system adopts a completely modular approach to the business of vending in downtown Washington, DC. Its advantages are a faster, simplified set-up/take-down of the vending stand, easier enforcement of existing vending regulations and a neat, uniform appearance to all vending kiosks in the city.
The system is based on a simple kit of parts which may be combined in infinite variations for adaptability to many different situations. The basic parts are the pole, the panel, and the attachments. The first two, the pole and the panel, may be combined to form the structure of the individual kiosks – the assemblies. The attachments are what convert the assembly into a complete vending kiosk.
The assemblies may be custom-configured to the individual vendor’s needs. They may be single-sided, back-to-back, habitable or not, permanent or temporary. Their form may reflect the personality of a vendor or be influenced by the type of merchandise for sale. They may respond to their site in unique ways.
The attachments are the elements which display or contain the merchandise. The individual vendor decides which attachments best suit his needs or he may improvise his own. They are easily interchangeable, and can be reconfigured to offer different vending opportunities as the seasons change, in anticipation of the day’s activities, or even in response to changes in the weather.
Because of the permanent nature of the assemblies, set-up and take-down of the kiosk is greatly simplified. The vendor just tilts up the roof and main shelf panels, mounts the attachments and displays his wares. In certain configurations, there could even be room for overnight storage of some components or merchandise.
The fixed dimensions of the assemblies allow simple enforcement of existing vending regulations – as long as all merchandise fits within the assembly, the vendor is in compliance. The permanent nature of the assemblies also simplifies the assignment of vending spaces – vending would only be allowed where permanent assemblies have been erected and each assembly could be allocated by permit.
Finally, although each vending kiosk could be adapted to its site or type of vending, and the use of attachments would allow each vendor to personalize his stand, the use of a kit-of-parts approach would give a uniform appearance to all vending kiosks in the city. This would promote a neater, cleaner civic realm and allow the stands to be easily recognized from a distance.