We pay attention to public markets and farmers markets everywhere we go, because markets are usually core components and bellwethers of the most livable communities.
Where markets are active, residents can usually find good quality and affordable foods, and easy access to good food is one of the most fundamental qualities of livable and lovable communities. Really active markets can also be the socio-economic and cultural “magnet” that draws and holds diverse communities together, since no matter what our individual economic, cultural, family or lifestyle differences might be, all of us need, want and can relate to food. But, along with the food, there can often be a strong social vibe – a life of the community – kind of atmosphere at some markets, and some great opportunities for people-watching and learning the daily or weekly news. Markets can also be great places to learn more about local agriculture, geography, common and specialty foods, tastes, cooking, and traditions. Finally, markets can sometimes be among the most prominent and interesting civic architecture and urban design places in their communities. Especially at historic markets, there is often a civic identity or strong sense of place embodied in the planning, architecture and urban design of the marketplace in each community.
Whatever the city, town, or village may be, if there’s a market, the market usually makes it someplace special and distinctive.
We were fortunate to be able to visit several cities in 2017 with active public markets. Here are some favorite photos from our travels!