Mei Banfa Engineering—Makeshift
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Chengdu’s street vendors hack their way through any problem

— Mei Banfa Engineering

06. Trade Dispatches
In Chinese, mei banfa means “there is nothing that can be done”. This phrase comes out in response to queries like, “Is there any possible way to buy a train ticket now?” or “Does your accounting error really mean my apartment will be without electricity for the entire weekend?” These concerns are trifling, however, compared to those whose machines drive the street trade. Engine overheating in a traffic jam? Hack a radiator together to cool it. Or weld a water tank to the roof to pipe water in. Something, it appears, can always be done.

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Residents of Cairo’s landfill community upcycle and trade the city’s refuse

— Garbage City

06. Trade Dispatches