Wednesday, October 08, 2008

An Urban Economics Puzzle

I have now been at USC a couple of months, and it is a terrific place. Last night we put on a panel on the financial meltdown for the USC community (see link to a webcast below); the staff here pulled it together (organization and marketing) in less than a week, and we nearly filled a room that held about 450 people with our students, faculty and alumni. The ability of people here to cooperate across schools and functions is truly astonishing, and the level of collegiality is quite wonderful.

But I have discovered a fault of the place--no street food. Both Madison and Philadelphia have lots of great street food options--Falafel, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Southwestern, etc. But there is nothing like that around USC. We have 33,000 students here. Why no market for food carts?


Unknown said...

Have you not yet dug into some tacos al pastor (dressed with fresh onion, cilantro and salsa) from one of L.A.’s infamous and numerous taco trucks?

I’d also enjoy hearing an urban economist’s take on L.A.’s Great Taco War of 2008 which has apparently just come to an end.

~Daniel B

USC Class of ‘93
Current econ grad student at GWU (just missed you here)

Anonymous said...

Licenses are too expensive?

Anonymous said...

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Don Coffin said...

I think Uncle Billy may have it. Look at Chicago. The Loop is has a very high (daytime) population density, but no food carts. Why? Chicago essentially outlaws them.

(As an aside. Some large universities--Indiana University Bloomington, for example, and, I think, the University of Illinois Champaign also seem to be food-cart-free. So it may be a University policy, not a local government policy, keeping such entrepreneurial activities out. I recall, at the University of Wisconsin, in 1969-70, the plaza around the library was thick with vendors of all sorts, including one of my favorites, the chocolate-dipped frozen banana man.)

Edgemonter said...

Madison? Philadelphia? What about Washington, DC?