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    – 29 May 2015 –

    The recent opening of the Albert sustainable market in Forest, of the Jette ‘Met’ and of the Van de Tram stables in Schaerbeek are further confirmation of the boom in Brussels markets. Atrium Brussels, in partnership with the ULB, has addressed this pleasant matter.

    Although they are an integral part of Brussels daily life, no authority – apart from the academic world – had yet addressed the issue of local markets. More than 9 municipal markets are held daily in Brussels, almost three times as many as 50 years ago.

    Market research

    The inextricable link between local markets and sedentary urban trade encouraged Atrium Brussels to undertake a comprehensive study to better understand the conditions for the emergence, nature and effects of markets on their environment.

    To help it in its task, the Agency was able to draw on meaningful support in the person of Benjamin Wayens, Doctor of Geographical Sciences and Professor of Geography and Applied Geomarketing at the Université libre de Bruxelles.

    As part of their practical work, six students from this Masters have already been able to address certain subjects relating to the geography of Brussels markets.

    Cheap neighbourhood, good neighbourhood

    By means of this study, one of Atrium Brussels’ main objectives is to assess the strength of the links created between the market and its environment.

    Initial observations suggest that the market reflects the image of the district in which it is established. In this sense, this ecosystem would condition both its composition and visitor rate and its development and reputation.

    Sophie Cosme, coordinator of the study at Atrium Brussels, explains: “If this hypothesis is confirmed, it would demonstrate, for example, that the negative image of a district can tarnish that of its market and, the other way round, the good atmosphere of a market can have positive effects on the district’s development.”

    Market laws

    Real urban choreography, the market follows a set of visible and invisible rules: the fruit and vegetable seller, always at the centre, since he arrives first and leaves last; so-called basic products in a central location, occasional purchases at the end of the market, etc.

    “Since the beginning of our research, continues Sophie Cosme, we have realised that there are many laws determining a market`s success. However, some of them are often overlooked by people at the municipal council in charge of their organisation.”

    One of the Agency’s final goals is to be able to deliver, modelled on its Brussels shopping neighbourhood barometer, a toolbox of presentations, recommendations and courses of action to ensure the success and sustainability of each Brussels market.


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    May 29, 2015