I was just reminded about the US Project for Public Spaces (PPS) by a blog on their markets’ training which champions public markets’ huge range of benefits, showing how they help tackle issues facing urban and rural neighborhoods by strengthening local identity, creating healthy and accessible places that act as food hubs, and boosting local economies. The blog features markets in New York City and has some great photographs and info. This ranges from the wholesale Chelsea Market, to the outdoor, seasonal Hester Street Fair, to plans for redevelopment of the Essex Street Market.
Links to other areas of the PPS website are a feature for those interested to know more.
The 9th International Markets Conference was held in Barcelona 26-28 March and was hosted by the Project for Public Spaces – this link also has a good article on Barcelona as part of PPS work on Market Cities. The conference sounds a great success and there is a blog posting from Foodshare, Toronto with a few thoughts about indoor v outdoor markets and their own work with getting fresh produce to low income communities here.
No doubt more reports will follow.
There is an interesting article (and full audio recording) by Noel King on Marketplace (26 Feb). She talks about the changing use of many US shopping malls as traditional anchor stores relocate back in to city centres and on to busy urban streets. Noel King talks about ‘retrofitting suburbia’ and visits Duluth, Minnesota to find malls also being used by walkers as exercise ‘yards’ and she talks of others being used to house police precincts, health centres and fire stations. There are others that target specific groups of shoppers as ‘ethnic malls’ and she visits the Santa Fe mall that targets Hispanic shoppers, providing its own radio station, a large food precinct, health centre etc.
If you want to hear the full audio version, it is here
I have just come across the short animation ‘Sausage’ by Robert Grieves on the Dutch Food Film Festival website. It’s a really great film – winner of many international awards – that shows the trials, tribulations and, ultimately, the triumphs of artisan food traders when fast food (with a lot of bells and whistles) tries to take over their trade in the market square. It’s well worth spending a few minutes watching it. You can access it here
The Urbact blog is part of an EU initiative that provides a platform for sharing ideas on current urban issues and innovative solutions for cities in Europe and in the world – one aspect features urban markets. There is an interesting article,’Renewing old markets – a tool for cities’, written by Núria Costa. She mentions that the project will be publishing a ‘Market Handbook’ and says, “this will present the benefits and opportunities that markets offer and some examples of good practices in participating cities: Attica, Barcelona, Dublin, London, Pecs, Suceava, Turin, Toulouse and Wroclaw”.
You can read more here
The UK supermarket Tesco announced plans to turnaround declining sales earlier this week. These include the decision to abandon plans for new stores in at least 49 locations, together with closure of unprofitable stores. The Guardian website has graphic photos of what the impact of the abandoned plans will have on the high street in Dartford, Kent where Tesco has put pressure for 11 years to build an 86,000 sq ft store and where demolition of local shops has already taken place – this includes a family butcher that had been operating for 104 years. Theses announcements may have helped Tesco’s share price but the ripples for local communities are much more profound. You can read more here
Fresh food on sale in Rotterdam’s Markthal is beautifully presented and contrasts with the busyness of the outdoor market on Binnenrotte which has over 400 stalls where replenishing stocks results in different priorities. Both markets sell the traditional range of fresh fruit and vegetables alongside a range of exotics that cater for global tastes and cultures but it seemed to me that all the everyday shopping was going on outside where prices were competitive and business was brisk as shoppers leave the market with their bags of fresh produce