It’s finally that time of year when the weather starts to seem a little less grim - Spring is in the air, and people are starting to gear up for a fresh outlook on the year, which includes aspirations of eating healthier and getting outside a bit more. With that in mind, this is also the time when locals start gearing up for market season. One of our favorite annual events, PPS’s “How to Create Successful Markets” training, is open for registration and we encourage you to come and join us for two days of public markets focused content and tours here in New York City before the course fills up!
With markets on the mind, what a great time to highlight one of our favorites. We often rave about the array of wonderful markets we work on here in the U.S., but so much of our work takes us worldwide. PPS Markets expert David O’Neil recently visited Melbourne, Australia, a city well-known for its public spaces, but also known for having an iconic, historic market at its center - the Queen Victoria Market. David’s work in Melbourne is actually directly related to the training course. Fiona Whitworth, the intrepid Director of Strategy for the Queen Victoria Market took the “How to Create Successful Markets” training course a few years ago and subsequently invited David to Melbourne to help with plans for what is likely the largest public market renewal project in the world today.
David visited Melbourne for a second time in November of 2016 to continue consulting for a major ongoing market renewal project in this space. Despite the Queen Victoria Market (aka “The Queen Vic” or “The Vic Market”) being a beloved historic place, the market’s infrastructure is in need of some modernization, and it will soon commence with a major renovation to address this. Why would such a well-established market need updating? Melbourne has been developing very fast - the skyline and city center are changing along with it, and, so are its demographics. Consumer demand is changing and the Queen Vic is intent on keeping up with the city’s ongoing changes.
At the same time, the Market is cherished, and all agree – customers, vendors and management alike - that preserving the authenticity and human ecology of this big piece of downtown is paramount. As O’Neil mentions, “I give great credit to the city of Melbourne for investing in the future of the market, because you cannot live on yesterday. It’s very important to keep up, and have the infrastructure that will allow for growth in the future and that will show your customers that this place is going to be around.” The vendors of course, are central to the success of any renewal and O’Neil also worked with them to strategize the best ways to work together with management to simultaneously maintain business continuity, preserve what is important, and make the transition as smooth as possible.
The Queen Vic Market itself is impressive and exemplary. For one, it makes quite a physical statement, so it needs no help in that department. The market is huge, and consists of around 17 acres, and houses around 700-800 vendors. In fact, it is so large that it actually contains markets within markets, often with large interconnecting sheds. There are entire halls devoted to specific foods and products, from dairy, fish, and meat, to items like costumes and crafts, and the stalls themselves are stunningly ornate, made of zinc, brass, and marble - an overall a pleasure to experience visually. The Queen Vic also has an extremely popular night market that becomes an entire production, then quickly switches back into the regular market within a very short time period. The market also puts on major performing events such as operas, and offers a range of programming for visitors throughout the year, all relating back to some of our key principles on what can make markets successful and dynamic places.
Surely, public markets need not be as large as Queen Vic to have a major impact on the community. In fact, some of the smallest markets can completely transform the identity and economy of a place. Markets spark urban revitalization, foster community diversity and improve public health, and they can do this no matter the place, no matter the size.
Learn about community impact, as well as a range of other topics relating to market development and management in our bi-annual “How to Create a Successful Markets” training which takes place at our office in New York. The public markets team at PPS, which includes David O’Neil, conducts this two-day program consisting of a series of lectures and activities where participants learn the essentials of creating a thriving and economically sustainable public market that can maximize community benefits and attract a broad diversity of visitors. While covering current market trends and topics such as market planning, community engagement, operations and management, the training also maintains a strong placemaking component, offering a variety of tools for turning markets into better community places.
If you would like to learn more about how to successfully manage a market in your community, as well as visit some of NYC’s exemplary markets in person, make sure to register here. The next training will take place on June 16-17, 2017.
And, if you really can’t get enough of markets, make sure that you stay in the loop on our 10th Annual International Public Markets conference that will be taking place in 2018. Watch this space!
For a more visual description of David's visit to the Queen Vic Market, you can catch him walking through with Queen Victoria Market CEO Malcolm McCullough in the video below:
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