Meeting on the marketplace: on the integrative potential of The Hague Market
SourceJournal of Urbanism, 10, 3, (2017), pp. 318-332
23 september 2016
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Urbanism
SubjectInstitute for Management Research
Marketplaces are important commercial and gathering places in cities. After decades of decline and negligence, they are recently rediscovered as potential meeting grounds that bring different people together. Their integrative potential goes beyond the “ground level” of the market (with encounters between traders and visitors), also uniting different stakeholders (municipalities, traders, entrepreneurs, inhabitants, social institutions) joined around the market on an “organisational level”. Using The Hague Market in the Netherlands as case, and drawing on participant observation and semi-structured interviews, this paper investigates the integrative potential of the marketplace. It illustrates how the market indeed serves as an important meeting ground for external stakeholders, but does not (yet) unify the direct beneficiaries: the local government and market traders. Top-down government planning, previous conflicts, distrust, group loyalties, diverging business views and commercial competition are important factors hampering the integrative potential of The Hague Market.
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