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Case Studies 

Detroit Eastern Market




Contributed by 
William Grapentine
Project for Public Spaces
February 13, 2015
December 14, 2017

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Eastern Market is a pedestrian oasis in the middle of a still largely car-focused (but rapidly changing) city. With over 150 vendors in the central market sheds and many other market-related businesses in the surrounding area, Eastern Market has a great variety of places where visitors can find meat, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, jams, honey, apple cider, cheeses, spices, herbs, plants, flowers, and much more. While the wholesale market dominates most of the week, there is also a retail farmers market on Tuesdays and Saturdays and a street market on Sundays. Outside this core, the district also features housing, art space, restaurants, galleries, and other businesses that draw diverse visitors to the area every day of the week. The market is a great source of civic pride for Detroiters--this is exemplified during home games of the Detroit Lions, when many local fans skip the parking lot tailgate scene and head instead to Eastern Market to celebrate the team with friends and fans.

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities


How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

As the largest historic public market district in the US, Detroit’s Eastern Market is like nothing else in the world. At the core of the massive district are five large sheds spread over 4.5 acres with vendors selling wholesale fresh produce, livestock, poultry, and much more. Hosting a thriving retail market and the largest open air flowerbed market in the country on the Saturday before Mother’s Day, it’s no surprise that over 40,000 people will visit the market district on a busy Saturday.

Eastern Market has its roots in two historic markets: a farmers market that began in the 1840s in Cadillac Square, and a hay and wood market that stood on the current site. In 1891, the first sheds were built on the site, marking the beginning of the Eastern Market as a historic institution. In 2006 the market reorganized to become a public/private partnership, and, with help from PPS, today it  is stronger than ever. The Eastern Market Corporation has recently renovated several sheds, and the reorganization has already been a great driver of investment and growth in the district.

Related Links & Sources

Image credits: PPS Library, Becky Johns via Flickr, crfsproject via Flickr, John Kannenberg via Flickr, Mal 9000 via Flickr

Website: http://www.detroiteasternmarket.com/

Twitter: @EasternMarket

Facebook: facebook.com/EasternMarketDetroit

Instagram: @easternmarket

Detroit Eastern Market
Detroit Eastern Market
Detroit Eastern Market
Detroit Eastern Market
Detroit Eastern Market
Detroit Eastern Market
Detroit Eastern Market
Detroit Eastern 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.


Corrections or additions? Email info@pps.org
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