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Scaling Up Urban Resistance to the New Gentrification Frontier: Creating a National Campaign Network to Defend Traditional Retail Markets

Sara Gonzalez and Gloria Dawson (University of Leeds)

***Project report – Traditional Markets Under Threat: Why It’s Happening and What Traders and Customers Can Do – now available***

Traditional markets in the UK find themselves at a crossroads; on one hand pushed out by changing retail trends and urban redevelopment, on the other championed as desirable, vibrant spaces which are the key to reviving town centres. Regeneration plans threaten what many traders and customers see as a unique and necessary public space in the heart of our towns and cities.

This report has two aims:

1) To critically examine the changing fortunes of the traditional market, with an emphasis on wider urban regeneration and gentrification strategies;

2) To explore ways in which customers and traders can successfully maintain markets as places which serve particular and often marginalised groups of people, and in which the social value of these spaces is maintained.

The report is aimed at campaigners or potential campaigners, people with a general or academic interest in regeneration, retail and urban development, and policy-makers (especially at a local level). It draws on campaign work and the analysis of campaign groups such as ‘Friends of’ market groups in Birmingham, Leeds, Peterborough and Queen’s Market (East London), as well as trader groups like Shepherd’s Bush Market Traders Association and grassroots housing activists like Tower Hamlets Renters.

The project aims to develop evidence around some of the issues facing traditional retail markets in the UK and move towards building a campaign network around these markets.  It has been developed in conjunction with campaigners including traders, customers and researchers both inside and outside universities.

Many traditional retail markets in the UK are struggling. Whilst farmers’ and specialist markets in some areas are increasingly popular, the traditional covered or open markets are finding it harder to make a profit. Campaigns and contestations around traditional retail markets often share common cause, analysis, barriers and approaches but although here have been some limited links between these established campaigns, no real and sustained networks of action or information and skills exchange have been established. The contacts are even more limited with the smaller short-term campaigns and with researchers. We want to scale up and coordinate these struggles, connect campaigners, traders and critical academics across the country to share analysis and skills in order to inspire and empower others to fight against gentrification and corporatisation of retail and city centres.

You can contact us at s.gonzalez@leeds.ac.uk / g.c.dawson@leeds.ac.uk

Read more about the project on our website – http://tradmarketresearch.weebly.com/ – and follow us on Twitter – @trad_markets

*         *         *

The project aims to develop evidence around some of the issues facing traditional retail markets in the UK and move towards building a campaign network around these markets.  It has been developed in conjunction with campaigners including traders, customers and researchers both inside and outside universities.

Many traditional retail markets in the UK are struggling. Whilst farmers’ and specialist markets in some areas are increasingly popular, the traditional covered or open markets are finding it harder to make a profit. Campaigns and contestations around traditional retail markets often share common cause, analysis, barriers and approaches but although here have been some limited links between these established campaigns, no real and sustained networks of action or information and skills exchange have been established. The contacts are even more limited with the smaller short-term campaigns and with researchers. We want to scale up and coordinate these struggles, connect campaigners, traders and critical academics across the country to share analysis and skills in order to inspire and empower others to fight against gentrification and corporatisation of retail and city centres.

You can contact us at s.gonzalez@leeds.ac.uk / g.c.dawson@leeds.ac.uk

Read more about the project on our website – http://tradmarketresearch.weebly.com/ – and follow us on Twitter – @trad_markets

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