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4 Guidelines on Taking Public Markets to the Next Level

By Kelly Verel on Apr 28, 2011 | 1 Comment

Register now for PPS upcoming training session, How to Create Successful Markets , May 20-21
in New York City.

Earlier this year, I attended and keynoted the 2011 Maine Farmers Market Convention, which brought
together market managers, vendors and local and federal legislators to discuss market issues in Maine.
Heres the video of my talk:

[vimeo video_id=19609831 width=525 height=394 title=Yes byline=Yes portrait=No

autoplay=No loop=No color=00adef]

While the number of new markets in Maine continue to grow, most of what I heard people talk about at
the conference was how their established market is being asked to expand operations and take on a larger
role in the life of the community.
Markets across the state are expanding the number of days they are open and adding second locations,
accepting SNAP/EBT, selling local products online, and even operating year-round. While this growth is
exciting it also is challenging, especially because so many of the states markets are operated by
As markets in Maine and across the country are increasingly recognized as important community assets,
they need help taking on larger responsibilities. No matter whether your market is new or established and
undergoing growing pains, these principles can help make it succeed both as a market and as a great
community place.


A market on Rue Mouffetard in Paris

The only way your market will be truly successful is if its a great public space. When we surveyed
customers about why they love markets, the number one reason was because they brought people
People love food, people value contributing to their local economy- but more than anything, people love
being near other people. So if youre a market manager, what can you do to foster that?

Making places where people like to hang out with each other will directly benefit in dollars.
A public market can come in many shapes and sizes including a craft market, art market, flea market,
farmers market, indoor market. But to be considered a public market, the market must:

Have public goals: how does this place contribute to the community?

Operate in public spaces- it can be privately owned but customers should not pay to get in

Serve locally owned and operated businesses

The best public markets confer a number of great public benefits. Research from the Ford Foundation
shows public markets confer multiple benefits to the communities they serve. Public Markets:

bring together diverse people

create active public spaces

link urban and rural economies

promote public health

provide economic opportunity for vendors

catalyze the renewal downtowns and neighborhoods


You cant just create a Pike Place overnight. It took 100 years for the market to get to what it is today: a
thriving market district. Markets emerge from a series of incremental additions- often through
many lighter, quicker, cheaper projects.
There are many kinds of Public Markets:

Open Air Markets- temporary, operating one or a few times a week

Covered Markets- sheds or flexible indoor space, including winter markets- a trend that is
growing in the northeast

Market Hall- indoor building with permanent stalls for vendors

Market districts multi acre hubs of market-related activity including a indoor market, mix of
wholesale and retail usually- usually lots of food related businesses, such as restaurants

When you start thinking holistically about markets as great community places- and not merely as outlets
for produce- its easy to see how markets can become the heart of a neighborhood. The busiest, most
successful markets are places where people want to spend time together.

But they can be more than fun: by strategically clustering public services and activities, markets can
actually contribute to community health.

Markets that cluster fresh food and health services in an environment where people want to come
together to spend time are Healthy Food Hubs.

Healthy Food Hubs offer many benefits, especially in lower-income or disenfranchised communities
without grocery stores where there is little or no access to fresh food. Healthy Food Hubs are markets
where you might also find cooking demonstrations, health information, a shared-use commercial kitchen,
job training, health care, community space, community gardens, and a restaurant or cafe, etc.

Healthy Food Hubs were the cornerstone of a concept PPS put together for our work inBirmingham,
PPS Can Help Make Your Market Great
PPS offers many services to reinvent or start a public market. PPS markets team can help with:

Planning and Design: PPS prepares feasibility and implementation plans


Education and Training:

Bi-annual Training Courses in New York City on how to create successful markets. The next on
will occur on May 20-21.

Customized trainings for your markets unique context

International Public Markets Conferences. The next one will be in Cleveland in 2012

Additional resources
Check out PPS research on public markets and these highlights and take-aways from the Maine Farmers
Market Convention.
These Photos Can't LieAraneta Center Farmers Market is Undoubtedly the Cleanest in
Metro Manila!

Compared to other public markets around Metro Manila which are known to have this stinky,
nostril-drying smell and sticky to muddy sidewalks; the Araneta Center Farmers Market
(located in Cubao, Quezon City) is incomparable when it comes to its high standards of
cleanliness and orderliness.
Many times, I heard people talking about how awesome this place is, so to prove it to
myself, I decided to visit this place one day to satisfy my curiosity.
More than just a mere rumor, this place seemed to be the best market I have ever seen
around the metro. Aside from being a melting pot of the Philippines' known fruits,
vegetables, seafood and meat products, I am impressed about how vendors maintain an
organized display of all their goodsmaking the entire place incredibly neat and tidy.
With the cooperative kindness of the Araneta Group Marketing Department, I was able to
secure a permit to shoot some photos within the market's perimeter. This made it easy for
me to go around while having the chance to occasionally talk with some vendors here, too.

Now, hold on because I am now about to show you some fascinating finds that made my
entire Farmers Market experience unforgettably worth sharing.

Getting Around the Dry Market

Nothing but only a kaleidoscopic mixture of various colorful stuff, this part of the market I
think is the most eye-catching of all. Isn't it astounding to see how vendors meticulously
arrange all these fruits in their stalls as if everything should look like it's well-calculatedly

In this area, you will see a long stretch of stalls selling nothing but all different kinds of
fruitseven the seasonal ones

In this spot, I was able to interact with Mang Jun, one of the stall owners. He said that hehas

been doing the same job of selling fruits for over 20 years now. With that long period of time,
he was able to observe some developments and changes in the market as well as how the
market's administration handles, maintains and values the cleanliness of the place.

I guess, market vendors here have only one thing in mind: Cleanliness and neatness should
always be a top priority.

Their rules and policies regarding the cleanliness of the market is strictly being enforced.
We (vendors) are always reminded to be more conscious about removing all the
unnecessary items and clutters that could make our stalls look untidy., he verbalized.

The fruits and vegetables here were arranged as if they should always be camera-ready!

Mang Jun is right. I do not see any unnecessary items or clutters here.

Here are some of our beloved local delicacies: latik, puto, kutsinta, and leche plan to name
a few

Woven products and house cleaning equipment are being sold here at the dry market too.
But I guess this place doesn't need more of that 'house cleaning' anymorethe floor here
looks so clean!

Inside the Wet Market

I didn't expect to take great photos from this wet market. Though there are lots of people
around, everything still looks so organized!

Its stinky and stickycommonly these are some adjectives that best describe a wet market.
But, I guess these words are never applicable here at all.
Michael Talipan, the very patient and courteous security officer on duty who tagged along
with me during my visit here said, This part of the market is sufficiently being maintained
by sanitary rovers who always ensure that the market floors are mopped and
free from clutters and grimy smudges. As a security guard in this area, we are as well being
advised to carefully monitor the compliance of every vendor to our policies regarding
maintenance and cleanliness.

I can't see any bloody stains here at all. I don't know how they do this, but kudos for this
'clean' job!

Can you see how painstaking these shrimps were arranged?

Does this wide array of seafood looks more fresh when it's presented like this?

Huge crabs and lobsters are just some of the great finds here too!

To be fair to everyone, there are reliable weighing scales that

are placed around the market to ensure the weight accuracy
of the products or items a customer has bought

No wonder why consumers love to flock around this place everyday. As you can see, Araneta
Center Farmers Market has already paved its way to the hall of fame because of its best and
outstanding standards in customer satisfaction.
Hence, I would no longer be astonished if you suddenly realized what life could be like if you

live near this place. Aside from enjoying this markets comfort and convenience, Cubao has
more interesting activities to offerin fact, you can indulge into some skys-the-limit
shopping sprees and can enjoy unlimited food trips to a greater selection of restaurants here
too! But to enjoy all the goodness longer, the best option is to avail or rent a condominium
or maybe a house nearby. For sure, there are always some units available in this area that
are now ready for occupancy. (To find a home near Cubao, try using Zipmatcha powerful
yet a user friendly tool that can locate real estate properties in less than 5 minutes)
Going back to the Farmers Market, I wonder what would it be like if all the marketplaces in
the country would be as clean and well-maintained like this. Undoubtedly, there will be an
enormous spike in the growth of the Philippines economy. The health of the Filipinos too, will
significantly be improved.
Truly, the Araneta Center Farmers Market is one of its kind. Its indeed an epitome of
excellent cleanliness and inimitable market standards.

LCQ5: Public market

Following is a question by the Dr Hon Elizabeth Quat and a
reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, in
the Legislative Council today (February 4):
Quite a number of residents in newly developed districts,
such as Tseung Kwan O, Tin Shui Wai and Tung Chung, have relayed
to me that the districts in which they live lack public
markets. For example, while the population of LOHAS Park in
Tseung Kwan O together with its neighbouring housing estates has
exceeded 30 000, there is no public market in that
area. Residents there have to travel a long distance to buy
fresh food and daily necessities. Also, the prices of such goods
are often higher than those in other districts due to inadequate
competition. On the other hand, some tenants and customers of
public markets without air-conditioning systems have relayed to
me that the unbearable swelter of these markets during summer
turns people away and causes foodstuffs to decay
easily. However, the threshold for retrofitting air-conditioning
systems in these markets is very high, i.e. the Government will
consider such works only when 85% or more of the tenants give
their support. In this connection, will the Government inform
this Council:
(1) of its major considerations in determining whether to provide

permanent or temporary public markets in newly developed

districts; whether it has any plan to provide a permanent or
temporary public market in Tseung Kwan O Area 85, which is
adjacent to LOHAS Park;
(2) whether it will amend the relevant planning criteria and
provide more public markets in newly developed districts, so as
to introduce competition and facilitate residents in buying fresh
food and daily necessities; if so, of the details; if not, the
reasons for that; and
(3) whether it has any plan to review the threshold for
retrofitting air-conditioning systems in existing public markets,
and devise a fairer method for sharing air-conditioning costs,
etc.; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
At present, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department
(FEHD) manages 101 public markets, including 76 public markets
which mainly sell fresh provisions and other dry and wet goods,
as well as 25 free-standing cooked food markets. The Link Real
Estate Investment Trust (Link REIT) and the Housing Authority
each manages 90 and 20 market venues respectively. Other than
these, there exists a good number of private markets,
supermarkets and fresh provision shops run by private
operators. In addition to the some 2 600 stalls in public
markets selling fresh provisions such as fish, meat and poultry,
there are currently around 2 700 licensed fresh provision shops
(including those in supermarkets) which offer choices to
According to the Hong Kong Planning Standards and
Guidelines, apart from the population of the area in question,
the Administration would take into consideration other relevant
factors. These include the demographic mix, community needs, the
provision of public and private market facilities nearby, the
number of fresh provision retail outlets in the vicinity, and the
public sentiment towards the preservation of hawker areas. The
Planning Department will consult the relevant policy bureaux and
government departments, including the FEHD, when preparing or
reviewing town plans to ascertain whether there is a need to
reserve land for public markets.
My reply to the various parts of the question is as follows:

(1) Building a new public market involves both land and public
money. Before determining whether a market should be built, the
Government would have to duly assess the demand for the market
and the question of cost effectiveness, for the purpose of
ensuring that public resources are put to proper use.
Specifically, factors that are taken into account include the
population of the area in question, the demographic mix, the
community needs, the provision of public and private market
facilities nearby, and the number of fresh provisions retail
outlets in the vicinity.
We have looked at the situation in Tseung Kwan O. At
present, six markets managed by the Link REIT and four private
markets exist in Tseung Kwan O. They are located in major public
or private housing estates and shopping venues. There are 27
shopping malls, 24 supermarkets and about 130 fresh provisions
shops. Different areas in the district are connected to each
other by various modes of transport. This helps facilitate the
shopping activities of local residents. According to experience,
the stall vacancy rate of a new market will be relatively high if
the products and services provided are similar to those of
existing traders who have been operating in the district for a
long time.
Even in the case of a temporary market, the Administration
has to put in a sizeable amount of resources to provide basic
facilities such as ceiling, stall partition, electrical
installation, water supply and sewerage systems, ventilation,
lighting system, fire-fighting system, toilets and refuse storage
chamber. Hence, the Government has not developed any new
temporary market in recent years. Most of the existing temporary
markets are provided to resite hawkers who would otherwise be
trading on-street causing environmental nuisance and obstructing
pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The last temporary market
development project, comprising the Nam Cheong Street Temporary
Market and Tung Chau Street Temporary Market, was carried out by
the former Urban Council in the early 1990s. These markets were
used to accommodate on-street hawkers selling wet goods in Sham
Shui Po and tenants of the former Sham Shui Po Market. In the
latter case, the purpose was to vacate the site for developing
the present Pei Ho Street Market.
On account of the above considerations, the Administration
has no plan to provide a permanent or temporary public market in
Tseung Kwan O Area 85 at present.

(2) The above requirements in the "Hong Kong Planning Standards

and Guidelines" pertaining to the planning of public markets have
been in use since they were last updated in 2009. As to the
requests for providing new public markets in individual
districts, we will continue to closely monitor the local
situation as well as listen to the views of stakeholders and
assess the need to review the planning guidelines for public
markets as and when appropriate. We will carefully consider the
various relevant factors, including those set out in the planning
standards and in part (1) of the reply, before deciding on the
provision of any new public market in a certain district.
(3) Following the existing practice, a request for installation
of air-conditioning system at a public market will first be
discussed at the meeting of the relevant Market Management
Consultative Committee (MMCC). Where there is a consensus among
members of the MMCC that the request should be further explored,
the FEHD will conduct a questionnaire survey to gauge the extent
of support from market tenants for the request. If 85% or more
of the tenants support the proposal, the Administration will
conduct a detailed technical feasibility study. Taking into
consideration the findings of the study, the extent of works
required, cost effectiveness, length of business disruption and
tenants' views, the Administration will decide whether there is a
case for bidding resources for the installation of airconditioning systems.
When the air-conditioning system is being installed, a
public market would have to be enclosed. After installation, the
system has to be turned on all year round for adequate
ventilation. All tenants will have to pay for the recurrent
expenses, including the electricity charges and general
maintenance costs for the whole year, and not just during the
summer months. Any tenant who refuses to pay these charges will
have to move out of the public market. The additional operating
cost related to the air-conditioning system is a factor that
existing tenants had not taken into account when they bid for
their public market stalls.
Secondly, the provision of air-conditioning systems often
involves partial or complete closure of the public market for as
long as several months depending on the circumstances, disrupting
business and affecting the livelihood of tenants. In one case,
all the stalls of a market-cum-cooked food centre had to cease
business for around six months for the installation of airconditioning system. The business cessation period may even be
longer in more complicated cases. Tenants who do not support the

installation of air-conditioning system will also be

affected. The threshold that must be met in order to support a
decision in favour of the installation of air-conditioning system
should not be too low. Otherwise, disputes may proliferate.
I understand the concern of Dr Hon Quat about the propriety
of the existing threshold relating to the provision of airconditioning system. I wish to stress that regardless of where
we pitch the threshold, it could hardly please everybody. When
considering whether to adjust the existing arrangement, apart
from the technical feasibility and resources implications, we
have to take into account the demand of tenants who would like to
install air-conditioning system, as well as make allowance for
arrangements meeting the interests of those tenants who do not
support the installation but have been running business in the
public market concerned for many years. In a nutshell, we have
to be very cautious if we are going to review the 85% threshold.
We need to reiterate that in the formulation and review of public
policies, we have to strike a proper balance among the interests
of various stakeholders in a responsible manner.
As for the calculation of air-conditioning charges, after
taking over public markets from the two former municipal
councils, the Administration reviewed the arrangements for
recovery of air-conditioning charges in public markets and
considered that separate charging of rental and air-conditioning
charges was more in line with the "user pays"
principle. According to the existing practice, the Government is
responsible for the capital costs of installing the airconditioning systems, and, unlike the usual arrangement adopted
by commercial landlords, we will not recover the capital costs
from tenants through subsequent rental adjustments. The
Government's policy is to have the recurrent expenses, including
electricity charges and general maintenance costs, borne by
market tenants. The recurrent expenses incurred by the provision
of air-conditioning system will generally be borne by tenants pro
rata, based on the floor area of their respective stalls. For
vacant stalls, the relevant costs will be borne by the
Government. This cost sharing method is consistent with that
adopted for all other government rental properties.
Ends/Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:12