A design research project focusing on connecting Los Angeles through street food
Project Purpose
This is a design research and strategy project. I worked on it with my teammate: Brianna Doyle as part of my senior capstone at the Iovine and Young Academy.

Traditionally, in Los Angeles, street vending has been criminalized. Street vending was a very risky environment as most of the vendors are undocumented which means a petty violation could lead to deportation.

This changed when on September 2018, a bill to decriminalize  street vending was passed! Ever since, the street vending landscape in Los Angeles has been positively evolving and is brimming with potential as it is now safe and legal to vend.

As two foodies and service designers, we wanted to use our design research skill on a typically underrepresented community.
Our approach
We have spent a year immersing, reframing, ideating and prototyping solutions in this space.

We learnt about the vending eco-system and food culture in Los Angeles by sitting in on city hall meetings with vendors, going to fresh produce markets at 4am, visiting commissaries, shadowing vendors,  calling local food tour companies etc.

After immersing ourselves, we gathered insights and reframed our guiding question to:
"How might we improve street vendor visibility in LA?"
Conducting interviews at the LA Fresh Produce Market

We spent the next phase ideating and prototyping with different constraints. Some of the insights that drove this process were:
- The majority of food tourists are locals. This led us to understand that locals want to learn and have a grip on their own town.

- Most vendors have flip phones or phones with the very minimum internet data plan, so an "offline" solution is needed.

- Vendors are always moving locations based on the season and events in the city, so customers never know where to find them

- Vendors are living on the bare minimum, hence the solution needs to be cheap and almost zero cost for the vendor side!

After more rounds of iteration we refined our concept to:
what is
- It's a map for Angelenos to easily find real-time street food locations around them

- The map is connected to an SMS chatbot system that allows for vendors to easily sign up on the chilimango portal and update their location via SMS as they move around Los Angeles.

Screenshots of the customer (Local Foodie) facing website:
case study
We created a in depth case study to share more about our design thinking methodologies and insights for further design research projects in this space!
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