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Market 2.0: It’s More than Just a Place to Get Your Groceries

By: Amy Ikhayanti

Melburnians love a good market, and we are spoiled for choices. There are over 40 markets in Melbourne that supply fresh produce, art and craft, as well as other specialty products. Some are farmers’ and produce markets, where you can get fresh yoghurt, jams, fruits and cheese, straight from the people who grow and process them. Others, like the Rose Street Artists’ Market, provide local designers’ products, ranging from jewellery, clothes, paintings to other urban paraphernalia. However, there are more and more markets that have become truly one-stop-shopping. For example, Queen Victoria Market, the oldest surviving market and arguably the most famous, is one of Melburnians’ favourite place to get quality fresh produce with an affordable price. It is also a popular place to get a good coffee and burek, while browsing the cheese and wine section. For one that has a huge appetite, a food festival that features cuisines from different parts of the world, is frequently held in the courtyard. That doesn’t mean that the market stays quiet on the weekdays. The winter night market invites people on Wednesday to feast and escape the chilly evenings. The market has repositioned itself in the minds of Melburnians. People go to Queen Victoria Market for the experience, not only out of necessity. It has become a destination, to hang out and have a good time.  

Figure 1: Queen Victoria Market’s Winter Night Market (https://www.timeout.com/melbourne/things-to-do/the-night-market-at-queen-vic-market)

The evolution of Queen Victoria Market from, well, a market to a destination is not a single, isolated case. Another renowned example is South Melbourne Market. Similar to Queen Victoria Market, South Melbourne Market has a long history serving the local community in southern suburbs since 1867. In the recent years, South Melbourne Market has undergone an image revamp from a local centre of fresh produce and other necessities, to a place for window shopping, meeting friends and having your Saturday brunch. People tend to linger for longer, spend more time and potentially, money at the market. This phenomenon illustrates the financial benefit of placemaking approach, where an existing community asset is leveraged to create an attractive public place, as well as to promote a greater community belonging and identity.

Figure 2: South Melbourne Market (https://haveyoursay.portphillip.vic.gov.au/CouncilPlan2017/photos/31706)

Preston Market is another market in Melbourne that is catching up on the trend. The market has recently introduced ‘cultural days’, such as Big Fat Greek Day, Macedonian Day and Italian Day, to attract more visitors. Various food and specialty stalls, along with a band that plays music from the related culture, are present to satiate one’s appetite and entertain the whole family. In 2015, PAM (Preston Art Market) Lane, an art and design precinct, was launched to welcome fashion, homewares, arts and tasty treats to Preston. The new precinct is reminiscent of SO:ME Space at South Melbourne Market, which is also dedicated to design, fashion and creative products. Following South Melbourne Market’s footsteps, Preston Market is also planning a revamp. In its first stage, it will install sustainability features, such as solar panels, on-site waste treatment and recycling improvements; new kids play areas and landscaping; expanded PAM Lane; as well as parents rooms, public walkways and a new customer service. The increased level of comfort from improved amenities and facilities, is predicted to encourage visitors to prolong their stay and to increase their shopping activities.

Figure 3: Preston Market (http://www.prestonmarket.com.au/new-opening-hours__trashed/384a7035/)

Apart from the three markets mentioned above, do you know any other markets that are also transforming? Let us know in the comments section below.

market, urban design, melbourne

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