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Let's Meet in Barcelona!

For the first time in its history, Project for Public Spaces (PPS) will host the International Public Markets Conference outside of the United States, in one of world’s greatest market cities - Barcelona.

Arguably the international model for a “Market City,” Barcelona boasts 43 food and non-food public markets spread throughout the city, many of which have recently undergone major renovation projects. We are delighted to host this event with the Institut Municipal de Mercats de Barcelona (IMMB) – operator of the city’s remarkable market system – in partnership with UN-Habitat.

The 9th International Public Markets Conference will be our first to focus on the preservation and revitalization of public markets – with a specific goal of advancing often-endangered markets in the developing world.


Over three days the world’s leading public market operators, developers and thought-leaders will articulate a new global vision for public markets, which are often under-recognized for their contributions to sustainable food systems, including their role as vital and authentic public places and in providing critical rural-urban linkages, as central to the development of “Market Cities.”

Conference participants will also have an opportunity to visit several of Barcelona’s extraordinary markets during an IMMB-designed day-long tour.


Schedule at a Glance

Thursday, March 26
Plenary sessions and workshops; reception in City Town Hall
Friday, March 27
Tours and special evening event
Saturday morning, March 28
Workshops and closing session

The conference will provide ample opportunity for networking at interactive workshop sessions, special evening events and receptions, and during the day-long market tours.


Market Tours

Conference tours will visit a wide range of markets throughout Barcelona including such highlights as the recently renovated Santa Caterina Market, to Sant Antoni Market currently operating in a temporary location while its 19th Century market building undergoes renovation, to one of the oldest markets in Europe, Encants Barcelona, a flea market which just moved to a new building that retains an open-air feel within the vicinity of Plaça de les Glòries.




Location - Barcelona

The conference will highlight Barcelona’s enviable market network of 43 public markets, intentionally planned in such a way so that every neighborhood in the City has its own market, supplying goods to 1.6 million people through 65 million visits per year. In the last 20 years,Barcelona has successfully transformed these markets, and their surrounding areas, through Placemaking, economic development, and activity. Today the public markets reinforce local cohesion, improve environmental conditions, boost tourism, and contribute to the Barcelona’s world-renown food culture.

The Conference’s working sessions will take place at the Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona [Centre de Cultura Comtemporània de Barcelona] (CCCB) located in Barcelona’s Ravaldistrict, just steps from Barcelona’s flagship market La Boqueria. For almost 20 years, this beautiful facility, developed by the City and Provincial governments, has organized and produced multidisciplinary exhibitions, concerts and festivals. Since 1999, the CCCB has jointly organized the European Prize for Urban Public Space which recognizes and encourages activities aimed at recovering and creating spaces of cohesion in cities.

We will offer attractive group rates for conference attendees at a choice of hotels meeting different needs and budgets.


Conference Participants

The conference will bring together public market leaders, advocates, and representatives from throughout the world. A broad mix of government leaders, market managers, downtown planners, grassroots organizers, local food advocates, transportation experts, health care professionals, and educators from around the world will be participating.

We strongly encourage delegations from specific cities to attend the conference together, providing an opportunity for market operators, municipal staff, and civic leadership to learn more about the future of markets together, and take the lessons back to their home communities.