Markets provide an opportunity to stimulate the local economy, revitalize neighborhoods, provide job opportunities, create socially inclusive spaces and enhance the health of the community. Farmers markets can provide healthy food in communities where it may be hard to come by for seniors and others.
Many cities have a central market, or a public market. They also have smaller markets spread across neighborhoods and regions. They are popular local destinations, and many become significant visitor attractions. Some of these markets are famous, such as La Boqueria in Barcelona, the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, the Union Square Farmer’s Market in New York City, the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, the Borough Market in London, the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia and the Lancaster Central Market in Pennsylvania.
More and more, the public, planners, entrepreneurs, and public officials are learning that markets provide an opportunity to stimulate the local economy, revitalize neighborhoods, provide job opportunities for new immigrants, create socially inclusive spaces and enhance the health of the community. Farmers markets can provide healthy food in communities where it may be hard to come by for seniors and others.
Recently, the Project for Public Spaces discussed “Market Cities” at the Public Markets Conference with a focus on the Mayor’s efforts in London. Part of the focus of those efforts has been leveraging the brand of the well known markets, to connect and support the more than 300 markets that exist throughout London. Additional efforts explore ways to help ensure that there will be an ample supply of new market traders in the future through training, mentorship and business support services. Global cities are investing in their markets because they matter beyond their property line.
In cities such as London and Barcelona, there are four key principles that enable their market systems to develop and prosper, which will help communities grow their market base.
- They assess their market system and connect the dots. They see markets as anchors for entire city districts, promoting job opportunities, entrepreneurship, active public spaces, and community health. They are important gathering spaces for a neighborhood or city.
- They have strong distribution networks and they are a vital connection between rural and urban economies.
- They are inclusive, and collaborate with operators, vendors, government officials, grassroots community groups and nonprofit partners.
- Market cities invest in their markets to help them realize their full potential and enhance their local economy and community health, creating a vibrant, social activity center.
Additional comments from the Project for Public Spaces:
“As community anchors, markets have the potential to make cities more lively, to elevate residents’ quality of life, to support the local economy, and to increase access to healthy, culturally-appropriate food—all in one location.”
“Make the connection between market history and traditions and the future of markets. The most successful markets are always evolving, as are our local economies and food systems.
Market leaders should carve out space for new ideas”
“Market cities invest in their markets”