some emergent markets


rome | campo de fiori by jhuang
April 13, 2010, 3:00 pm
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Though the Campo acted as an important public space for four hundred years prior to the establishment of the daily market, over the past century, the market’s presence has undeniably altered the Campo’s cultural and built form. Now deeply embedded into its immediate surroundings, cafes and street performers carry on the vitality of the market throughout the day. Time spent in Rome offers the opportunity to understand how the market acts as a generator of public activity, and to measure the long-term effect of commercial and cultural exchange on a surrounding urban environment.

Infrastructure for market stalls is built into the cobblestones, enabling reorganization within a set of limitations. The physical form of the infrastructure is hidden in the ground, preserving the idea of the century-old market as temporary. Why is the impermanent nature of the market an important cultural concept?

diagrams: late night | afternoon | morning

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“… to *measure* the long-term effect of commercial and cultural exchange … ” — Finding a meaningful quantitative measure of this may be a challenge (if that’s what y’all had in mind), but I’m sure you’ll think of something.

“Why is the impermanent nature of the market an important cultural concept?” — Temporary markets have lower costs of entry for merchants than establishments with fixed permanent locations (e.g., those with roofs), so that might make it easier to sustain a more vibrant/dynamic cultural exchange with many new actors than would be possible if merchants were required to make costly investments in order to participate. Temporary markets that occupy spaces for only parts of a day also allow for those spaces to be put to other uses during the rest of the day, which permit the introduction of additional cultural influences.

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