Tuesday, May 29, 2018

On a self-reliant, resilient and regenerative local economy : 4 : A downtown public market

In the first post of this series, former Toronto Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat says, "Mid-sized cities hold the key to economic growth and quality of life in Canada, and they’ve taken too long to realize it." And in the second an essay in Strong Towns considers what can local economies learn from the explosion of craft brewing in big and small cities. Also my Twitter thread where I do an informal survey of food and drink business within my Old City neighbourhood. The question arose: can a cluster of uses become a mutually supportive destination, a primary use?
And then an introduction to Jane Jacobs' book, Cities and the Wealth of Nations. All of which led to, not entirely unintentionally, a focus on a downtown Nanaimo City-owned Public Market. Starting from a piece in Guardian Cities on an ambitious city wide Barcelona plan to renovate its public markets, I asked followers to help me out: what markets have impressed you? What can we learn from them?
Here’s an attempt to compile : Pike Place, Seattle • The Forks / Johnston Terminal, Winnipeg • Granville Island • St Johns City Market • Rochester NY Public Market • All the Barcelona markets • St Lawrence Market, Toronto • Findlay Market, Cincinnati • Mexico City, Oaxaca Mobile markets across the South of France.
I hope I got them all and thanks to everyone for the great contributions and comments. These comments from the London UK SE5 area, Visit Camberwell were standouts: "In some ways, car culture carries over into cycling culture with widespread advocacy of bakfiets (cargo bikes) as the ideal sustainable form of household shopping. Whereas imho the challenge is to restore a vibrant distributed local network of independent shops for hand-to-mouth food planning."

Around the world, pubic markets are key municipal assets that, done right, punch above their weight economically, socially and culturally. A Nanaimo Downtown Public Market should be a priority, the process of preparing a detailed business plan should be undertaken by our new Mayor and Council and Senior Staff without delay.

1 comment:

  1. I would very much like to propose an indoor daily public market for the old A&B sound site. With residences above and nearby parking its seem a natural location.