June 6-8, 2019
What It’s All About
Hosted by Project For Public Spaces (PPS), a nonprofit urban design and planning organization, the International Public Markets Conference brings together 300-400 market practitioners, real estate developers, and municipal representatives to discuss the trends and challenges public markets face. “We are about placemaking,” said Kelly Verel, vice president of PPS and a key strategist in planning the 10th International Public Markets Conference, set to take place in London in 2019. “It’s really the idea that our public spaces need to be revitalized or developed or created based on the community itself and their needs and wants.”
While the conference program touches on the nuts and bolts of the market business, the goal is to address bigger-picture topics through the lens of public markets — “around public health, economic development, workforce readiness, growing small businesses, and serving as a place for women, minorities, and immigrants to get a leg up in the business world,” Verel said.
Why We Like It
In addition to an opening plenary, a slew of sessions and evening reception, the International Public Markets Conference puts attendees in the middle of the action by providing a full day of tours in the host city’s best markets. “They’ll start at 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning and be off until 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon visiting four to five markets, depending on the distance between them,” Verel said.
Groups are accompanied by a knowledgeable local tour guide to navigate between destinations, and are also met by someone who works at each market to learn the ins and outs of each space.
“It’s a great networking opportunity for [attendees],” Verel said, “because they get to be together on these buses and walking around, and it gives them a lot of time to talk and bounce ideas off each other.
Fair Market Value
Though this will only be the second International Public Markets Conference to be held in Europe — the first was in Barcelona in 2015 — Verel said London is the ideal destination for the event due to its established yet growing market scene. London “is really striving under the mayor’s office to work on solving some of the community’s challenges and providing opportunities,” Verel said. “They’ve created the London Markets Board, just formed in the end of 2017, which is a representative of 20 to 25 people who manage or develop markets that are all very different from around the city.”
Indeed, London is famous for its markets, which sell everything from antiques to crafts to sweatshirts for tourists to take home. Borough Market, Portobello Road Market, and Old Spitalfields Market are among the most popular, but there are dozens more participants will no doubt check out.