A market in Hong Kong confers many benefits to its neighborhood.

New research on public marketplaces and their potential to spur local economic, social and political development cites many PPS studies and is closely in line with PPS’ approach to markets, which emphasizes that successful public markets achieve these three goals:

  • they’re great community gathering places
  • they’re economically sustainable
  • they have a  broad impact on their community’s development.

This convergence is what makes successful public markets not only good for vendors and customers but also for good the market’s surrounding community.

Marketplaces as Tools for Planning and Public Policy
The report, Marketplaces: Prospects for Economic, Social and Political Development (free PDF, registration required for download) by Alfonso Morales of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “shows how marketplaces were once tools of nascent planning and public policy, describes the reasons they should be again, and shows how planners and policy makers can advance public purposes through markets.”  For Morales, “…the marketplace represents one route to community redevelopment in the broadest sense.”

The research cites PPS studies throughout, including:

Markets Can Release a Community’s Creativity
The report focuses on the many, varied impacts marketplaces can have on the public realm and explains that “markets release the creative, recreational, civic, and economic energies between the community and the individuals who compose it…. Markets connect the natural world to the urban environment, and the two-way connection raises hopes in both that communities will develop economically, that farmland and food systems will be protected, that individual health will be improved, and that the natural and local will supplement the engineered and global urban environment.

…The market provides a ‘halo effect’ in a community, and a vibrant market is auto-catalytic, producing positive feedback loops in civic, economic, and social life. Although the market represents the community, its connections, and its aspirations, it takes relationships between outsiders and insiders to catalyze these aspects of community and to make operational symbolic hopes individuals have for themselves and their community.”

Want to learn more?
PPS has a number of resources on markets that can help you get started creating a great community place- in addition to a number of useful books and publications like SNAP/EBT at your Farmers Market: 7 Steps to Success.

Attend our next training course!
How to Create Successful Markets in New York City this month (May 20 and 21).

New Research on Marketplaces as Catalysts for Community Development was last modified: March 6th, 2012 by Megan MacIver
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