Monday, June 3, 2013

From Project for Public Spaces
Why Barcelona’s Markets Are “Super” Places

“Barcelona residents rank their public markets the second most valuable public service after libraries” F Murphy photo
When you think of the important places in the social life of your community, what comes to mind? Parks, squares, street corners, libraries, schools—these are common answers in many cities. They are the public spaces where we relax, where we meet friends, bump into neighbors; in short, the places that we all share. But there is another kind of commonly 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 (indeed, for centuries they were housed right inside of many city halls), sanitation concerns and a cultural obsession with convenience led to their demise in many western cities starting 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. Today, many millions of people around the world rely on these fluorescently beige, air conditioned megastores, where the goal is to get in, get your shopping done, and get out as quickly as possible. But in some cities, even in the developed world, traditional public markets still reign supreme! Read more: Project for Public Spaces | Food For Thought: Why Barcelona’s Markets Are “Super” Places

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