Re-producing public space: the changing everyday production of outdoor retail markets

MMP; Breines, Markus; Dahinden, Janine; Jónsson, Gunvor; Lindmäe, Maria; Madella, Marco; Menet, Joanna; Schapendonk, Joris; Van Eck, Emil; Van Melik, Rianne and Watson, Sophie (2022). Re-producing public space: the changing everyday production of outdoor retail markets. Urban Geography, 43(6) pp. 878–885.



In 2020, nation states across Europe restricted access to, and use of, public space to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As almost all public spaces in Europe were consequently affected by restrictive measures, so too did outdoor retail markets drastically change. Some had to close down completely, whereas others operated under the sway of severe limitations for traders and customers. By re-engaging with the work of the late Michael Sorkin, it could be argued that the effects of COVID-19 add another dimension to the “end” or “death” of public space. In this paper, we shift attention to the tactics and strategies of one category of public figures behind the everyday production of markets, the traders, to show that markets in Spain, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the Netherlands did not simply stop functioning as public spaces. Rather, they took on different forms that extended spatially beyond their physical boundaries. These transformations allowed for the continuation of the social and political dimensions of public space.

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