Understanding and Enhancing the Community Value of Traditional Retail Markets in UK Cities

Understanding and Enhancing the Community Value of Traditional Retail Markets in UK Cities | School of Geography | University of Leeds

Co-investigator: Dr Lisa Buckner

External Co-investigators: Adrian Bua, Rachel Laurence, Frances Northrop, Chris Savage, Sophie Watson

Traditional markets have played a significant role in UK’s towns and cities for centuries and, in more recent times, have particularly supported deprived neighbourhoods by providing affordable food and start-up business opportunities as well as fostering social inclusion in increasingly diverse cities. However, they have been affected by radical changes in global retail trends and public sector cuts which are relegating them to the side-lines. At the same time, markets aimed at high income shoppers and tourists, specialising in food, local produce, fashion and crafts, are on the up.

Research is urgent to understand the current situation of markets and their potential community value, which may be at risk as shown by the rise of campaigns denouncing the displacement of independent retailers and vulnerable users. To respond to this knowledge gap and the need for policy advice, our study will provide a new way to understand the community value which traditional markets offer, whilst connecting existing academic and policy literature.

We will begin by analysing the current national and international public discourse around traditional markets by reviewing industry, academic, community, media and policy publications. Next, we’ll be inviting a range of people with an interest in traditional markets, including policy makers, market operators and managers, traders and representatives from charity organisations and campaign groups, to take part in interviews and workshops, to find out how they understand their community value. Our third task will be to gain an in-depth understanding of markets users’ experiences through interviews, focus groups and a large market user survey in three case-study markets. Towards the end of the project we will produce publications and toolkits aimed at supporting the work of all of the groups we have worked with, who have an interest in the future of traditional markets. We will also hold practical workshops with traders, market managers and community groups to test and feedback on our findings.

Publications and outputs

Bua, A, Taylor, M and González, S (2018a) Measuring the Value of Traditional Retail Markets: Towards a Holistic Approach https://neweconomics.org/uploads/files/retail-markets.pdf



Project website