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How do you keep your market from degrading? A regeneration strategy will help !

26 of January '23

Urban markets are a double-edged sword. They can be a credit to the local community or, conversely, lead to its scorn. This unique urban space also has hidden potential, which an interdisciplinary team from Gdansk has investigated.

As part of our #ReportThursday series, we present documents, reports and guides on architecture, cities and local government that are certainly worth publicizing and promoting. This week, we take a look at the Marketplace Regeneration Strategy developed by the City Initiative Association in cooperation with Gdansk University of Technology and the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk.

Why is it worth taking a look at this publication? Urban market places since the late 1990s can follow several paths — modernization and adaptation to modern needs, total degradation and disfigurement or closure. The markets are still needed, and at a time when they may be closing, the local community stands up to defend them. An example of this is the conflict over the future of Gwardia Hall in Warsaw.

What did the project's research and practical activities indicate? We can determine the direction of development of marketplaces so that they can continue to serve their cities.

The entire report is available on the website of the City Initiative Association — see here.

Targi pozytywnie oddziałują na środowisko, gospodarkę i społeczeństwo

Trade fairs have a positive impact on the environment, economy and society

© City Initiative Association

long-standing ills of trade fairs

What is the biggest problem facing today's trade fairs? To begin with, it is worth emphasizing the fact that the number of marketplaces in Poland is fairly constant. According to the Central Statistical Office, there were only 250 more markets in 2020 than in 2000. Considering how our consumer behavior has changed, this is not a big difference.

Among the biggest threats to marketplaces is the bane of the Polish economy and the Social Insurance Institution — demographics. Already today, about 25-30% of vendors at urban markets are of retirement age. In 2032, it could be as high as 60%, according to research. There is little succession in this environment, related to the lack of adequate attractiveness of the fairs.

Największe zagrożenie dla targowisk to demografia i brak reform

The biggest threat to markets is demographics and lack of reform

© City Initiative Association

What, above all, has led to the stagnation or degradation of many trade fairs in Poland? Among other things, problems in management, competence deficiencies of managers or lack of planning beyond day-to-day decisions. Fairs should better adapt to changes in customers, or be more responsible for their image.

The strategy published research on consumer expectations of what could be changed at marketplaces. Some measures, such as the aesthetics of the stands, parking spaces or access, would require a lot of money and modernization, but among these are also things that are easier to arrange — paying by card, enriching the offer or improving the image.

All of this, however, points to the need for reform — and it is the Market Regeneration Strategy that tells the story.

Najbardziej porządane zmiany ocenione w ankietach

most desirable changes assessed in surveys

© City Initiative Association

hidden potential

One may ask, in the age of supermarkets and even the flip of grocery shopping into e-commerce, do we still need markets? The authors of the strategy indicate unequivocally that yes! The invisible at first glance advantage of trade fairs is how they fit in with economic and urban trends—they correspond to 15-minute cities, the circular economy or the concept of new urbanism.

The potential of markets is multifaceted—they can serve to shorten supply chains, integrate communities, trade more fairly, support local agriculture, and build better relationships in the city. For this, better management is needed, based on cooperation between different actors, activation and introduction of different functions to the market, modernization striving for inclusiveness or, finally, promotion, without which no one will know about the changes.

the most important solutions important to implement

© City Initiative Association

case study of Gdańsk

The work of the project consisted of two phases — research and practical activities in Gdańsk. The strategy is not another boring document in which we find only tables and definitions. It's a real work with recommendations, from the smallest to the largest — it's worth looking into it and finding out what the Gdańsk case study was about. Perhaps it will help save not one fair in Poland.

Istotny jest też marketing i promowanie targów - tu przykład wykorzystania plakatów stworzonych przez studentów gdańskiego ASP do promocji

Marketing and promotion of fairs is also important — here an example of using posters created by students of the Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts to promote

© Stowarzyszenie Inicjatywa Miasto

The entire report is available on the website of the City Initiative Association — see here.

compiled by Wiktor Bochenek

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