Parks, squares, street corners, libraries, schools—these are the important social places in many cities. They are the public spaces where we relax and meet friends; in short, the places that we all share. But there is another kind of shared space that often goes unappreciated as a community hub in today’s convenience-oriented cities: the public markets where we buy our food.
While markets were historically important threads of a city’s social fabric, sanitation concerns and a cultural obsession with convenience led to their demise in many western cities in the 1950s. The “super” markets that replaced these vital public spaces were some of the first of what we now know as big box stores, and today, many millions of people around the world rely on these fluorescent, air conditioned megastores.
But in some cities, even in the developed world, traditional public markets still reign supreme!