Public markets are an essential building block of great cities–in the same way as parks, streets, and buildings. This gallery of historic and contemporary photos shows why.
PPS calls our conference series “Great Markets, Great Cities” because we see public markets as an elemental form of public space–a source of strength for local economies and the social life of cities. This is as true today as it was when the first cities were taking shape, with markets as the first, primordial public spaces.

Good markets are not complicated, but they are complex. They are home to endless hand to hand transactions, evolving relationships, competitive dynamics and as many perspectives and opinions as there are stars in the sky. This complexity forms and reforms naturally throughout the days and seasons in a great market.

In this gallery of great PPS market pictures and historic images from the collection of David O’Neil, you’ll see this complexity as it unfolds in today’s markets and in those of the past. Click on the image below to start the slideshow (you may also need to disable pop-up blocking in your browser).

You see this vendor upon entering la Boqueria in Barcelona, a market where they understand how to put the product front and center.