Getting people out and about relies on having places that are accessible and provide safety and comfort for everyone. Markets are one way to activate space and encourage people to get out and about. But they don’t happen by accident. The secret of a market place for everyone is that there is plenty to do and is accessible and inclusive for all.
Creating sociability in public space is often the most difficult aspect of placemaking. Markets are gathering places that can help the socialisation process. Research indicates that socialising is one of the main reasons people visit markets.
Public markets provide economic opportunity, bring diverse groups together, promote public health, and activate space. More importantly, they encourage people to get out and about.
Seven principles of market cities
1. Variety: A market city includes both food and non-food markets across a city-wide market system.
2. Collaboration: A market city collaborates with diverse partners and stakeholders. They include advocates for health, community services, not-for-profits as well as government agencies.
3. Measurement: A market city measures the value of its markets especially for vulnerable neighbourhoods. The quality of physical access and facilities and the health impact. Analysing all aspects of social and economic outcomes helps to develop a city-wide market system.
4. Resilience: A market city has facilities for storage, processing and distribution of food and goods produced in the region.
5. Excellence: A market city invests regularly in its facilities which includes maintaining existing structures. It also invests in well trained staff to operate the market system.
6. Opportunity: A market city supports vendors to start a new business or expand an existing one.
7. Place: A Market City recognizes that its markets are public spaces that celebrate cultural heritage. Public spaces in and around markets are safe, accessible, attractive and inclusive.
The picture above shows a very crowed market place which some people find uncomfortable. Not everyone enjoys being with so many people being close together. To be inclusive, markets also need quiet spaces for resting, and facilities that support people with physical and sensory disabilities.
The best way to achieve an inclusive market place is to begin with community consultation – the first step in all placemaking.