The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design
Case Studies 

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.

*Nominee 

Italian Market

Philadelphia

PA

USA

Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
December 23, 2014
January 3, 2018

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Featured in the iconic training montage in the 1976 film Rocky, the Italian Market (also known as the South 9th Street Curb Market) is an undisputed cultural heritage site. The entire block is visually striking, with bright signs and colorful metal awnings extending over the curb to protect vendors and buyers. Its history, restaurants, and variety of available goods are reasons enough to visit this outdoor market, but the conviviality of the market makes the experience all the more memorable. In wintertime, for example, many vendors set up burn barrels in the street near their stands to keep themselves, and shoppers, warm.

The market is the site of many festivals and events, most notably the annual Italian Market Festival. The market is nestled between two rows of traditional European-style rowhouses, with many restaurants, cafes, and shops occupying the ground floor of the owner-occupied buildings. The market is open year round and every day of the week. The market is a multicultural mecca—along with the abundance of high-quality authentic Italian goods, you will also find Philly cheesesteak joints rubbing shoulders with Mexican taquerias and Vietnamese banh mi stalls. Even though the market is limited to the sidewalk, shoppers can find many places to stop, socialize, and relax.

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities

Sociability

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Dating back more than 100 years, Philly’s Italian Market is one of the largest and oldest outdoor markets in the country. It got its start in 1884 when Italian Immigrants began moving en masse into a designated “immigrant settlement zone” in the city’s South End. Still predominantly Italian but also home to many Asian and Latin American foods and vendors, today the market occupies 10 blocks of 9th street. With more than 100 vendors, including seven meat markets, four dedicated cheese shops, four poultry stores, and more than 40 produce vendors, the Italian Market is a must-visit for foodies and locals alike, and certainly for Italian cuisine buffs. The name “Italian Market” was coined in the 1970s as a response to the influx of supermarkets and chain stores in the area.

Related Links & Sources

Image credits: PrettyKateMachine via Flickr, Jennifer Yin via Flickr, PPS Library

Website: italianmarketphilly.org/

Twitter: @ItalianMarket

Italian Market
Italian Market
Italian Market
Italian Market
Italian Market
Italian Market
Italian Market
Italian 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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The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design