some emergent markets


Mind the Gap by Daphne Lasky
July 21, 2010, 10:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

The market structure here in Paris is remarkably linear. At markets like Belleville and Barbès, the space is so crowded that you can walk in a straight line for blocks before you find an opportunity to duck out into a different space.

On other occasions, we’ve come across markets with empty stalls. While the metal scaffolding is set up (thanks, city government!), an absent vendor creates a gap in the long stretch of produce-covered tables. Shoppers use these gaps as shortcuts for hopping from one row of stalls to another, and I’m starting to think of the empty stalls as potentially interesting field disturbances.

This gap opens up an interesting view across the market–it is so important to always be able to keep an eye on the cheese vendor.

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3 Comments so far
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I think your observation about fieid disturbances and gaps is brilliant. I would also think that loosely related to this could be the end to end gradient condition you write about. It is interesting to have the normative reference of the linear layout as a constant, a situation much at odds with Rome. Have you plotted out where gaps occur to see if there is a logic, either contextual or within market operations or whether this is random and opportunistic.

Comment by robin dripps

Thanks for your comment! Writing this response, it occurs to me that while we’ve written a lot about linear markets, we haven’t specifically discussed the “plaza” typology that we’ve found (where parallel rows of markets stalls create a wider field). Gaps in linear and plaza markets have very different effects, something that we’ll have to address in future posts.

For now, the jury’s out on whether or not the gaps are random. On one level, an absent vendor here and there could be due to illness, vacation, or whatnot, and so might not have a “structure,” so to speak. On another level, large numbers of empty stalls (4+, I’d say, offhand) tend to cluster together. It’s a city agency that controls/grants vendor permits, and I’d be very interested to know to what extent they manage the placement of vendors.

Finally, in some places where authorized vendors have left gaps, informal vendors have plugged into the market system. These individual responses to field disturbances can have a significant influence on the feel of a market, and it’s something we’re paying attention to this week.

Comment by Daphne

[…] consumers do cross from one side to the other and they tend to do it through one of the gaps in the market stalls. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)roving markets 1 Comment 1 Comment so far […]

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