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Case Studies 

Dekalb Market




Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
November 23, 2015
December 22, 2017

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

In 2011, development group Urban Space took over an unused site in Brooklyn, New York to create a multi-use destination called Dekalb Market. The space was constructed from a collection of salvaged shipping containers, each housing different functions such as food vendors, retailers, performance space, vegetable gardens, a classroom and kitchen. They also provided space for public art, picnic tables and live music. By including a variety of uses and catering to a variety of users, Dekalb Market was able to bring together businesses with artists, nonprofits, and the community-at-large. Each plot of the vegetable garden, for instance, was maintained by a different local organization. One of these organizations, Malcolm X Grassroots, used their plots to grow vegetables for distribution to low-income areas. Additionally, the kitchen and classroom facilitated urban agriculture and culinary workshops for both children and adults. To the dismay of many Dekalb Market regulars, the space was eventually deconstructed and replaced with a previously planned retail development. The market’s flexible nature, however, means that the complex can reassemble in new spaces around Brooklyn as they arise, which also remains its biggest lesson. 

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities


How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

Photo credits, from left: Allison Meier via Flickr, Inhabitat Blog via Flickr, Robyn Lee via Flickr, Robyn Lee via Flickr, Inhabitat Blog via Flickr, Allison Meier via Flickr

Website: urbanspacenyc.com

Facebook: facebook.com/urbanspace

Twitter: @urbanspacenyc

Dekalb Market
Vegetable plots are maintained by local organizations
Dekalb Market
Recycled shipping containers and cheap and easily to assemble
Dekalb Market
Containers house various uses from clothing boutiques, coffee shops, and galleries
Dekalb Market
Communal picnic tables
Dekalb Market
A lively public market
Dekalb Market
Dekalb Market
Dekalb Market

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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