This Thursday July 10th, at 13:45, a group of experts will meet in Utrecht, the Netherlands, to discuss the role of Marketplaces as Urban Development Strategies. The discussion will cover a wide variety of topics, from communities and governance to actual market design.

We are proud to present the participants:

– Arnold Reijndorp, architect, independent researcher, and professor at the University of Amsterdam

– Ching Lin Pang, professor at the University of Leuven

– Núria Costa Galobart, communications officer at the Barcelona Municipal Institute of Markets and lead partnet in URBACT Markets

 Will Fulford, co-founder of the Urban Market Company and researcher at the University of Westminster

– Sophie Watson, professor at the Open University, UK.

Moderators: Freek Janssens (UvA), Ceren Sezer (TU Delft)

Location: Room 135 of the Martinus Rupert Building at the University of Utrecht.


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AESOP’s Annual Congress will host a Round Table on “Marketplaces as Urban Development Strategies.”

Marketplaces are often romanticised as traditional spaces of ‘pure’ encounters between producers and consumers in an increasingly privatised world. Farmer’s Markets are well-known example of this and several city governments seem to have embraced the urban marketplace as a tool for ‘placemaking.’ Yet this enthusiasm needs to be supported by a critical analysis of how exactly, marketplaces act as inclusive public spaces that support residents, rather than merely real estate developers.

For this reason, Freek Janssens (UvA) and Ceren Sezer (TU Delft) published a Special Issue for the journal “Built Environment” (Peter Hall, David Banister, Stephen Marshall, editors) on “Marketplaces as Urban Development Strategies” (2013). The issue focuses on the ways in which marketplaces in the city can be strategically deployed to improve neighbourhoods, by facilitating interaction among different people and groups in the public space of the city, and hereby support inclusive city life.

The next step in line will be focused Round Table session during the AESOP Annual Congress 2014. We have invited participants from different fields of expertise on marketplaces to address the following question: How can marketplaces function as urban development strategies that facilitate the interaction among different people and groups in the public space of the city, and hereby support inclusive city life?The session aims to stimulate useful and collaborative conversations among academics as well as planners and designers on the role of marketplaces in today’s cities.

The Round Table will approach the main topic from three different angles:

1. Marketplaces and communities: How can marketplaces support communities? What are the qualities of marketplaces that set them apart from other public spaces?

2. Marketplaces and governance: How can local governments manage their markets? How can regulation be improved to reflect the adaptability of marketplaces?

3. Marketplaces and design: What kind of creative spatial and temporal strategies can balance both the needs and restrictions of the communities and governance?

None of these three angles alone can provide an answer to the main question. Indeed, only a bridging of the disciplinary boundaries from social science, to policy, to planning, and to design will provide us with a thorough understanding of the potential of marketplaces. We therefore ask participants to look beyond the traditional boundaries of their respective backgrounds and expertise.


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