On Friday 15 February, Dr Sara González and I shared initial findings from research on the community value of markets with the London Markets Board (LMB). The LMB was set up in 2018 by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, in order to ‘coordinate and focus strategic action on markets’. It is unique in the UK in providing metropolitan governance arrangements for markets, and is therefore attracting interest not only from market managers, traders and campaigners in London but also from the key national organisations, the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA), and our research partner NMTF (the National Market Traders Federation). We are particularly interested in the LMB because of its goal to maximise the social value of markets, as set out in the Mayor of London and Local Enterprise Partnership for London’s 2017 report, Understanding London’s Markets.
In our presentation , Sara and I raised some key issues for the LMB which have emerged from our research so far:
- Social value. How can this research project contribute to the LMB’s goal to improve evidence and to maximise social value?
- International Public Markets Conference, hosted by the Mayor of London, 6-8 June . Can the conference visit markets such as Elephant & Castle, Seven Sisters, Chrisp Street, Ridley Road and Shepherd’s Bush? Can conference fees be waived for traders and community members who wish to attend?
- Market campaigns. How can the LMB work more closely with market campaigners, including Just Space, Friends of Queen’s Market and Save Latin Village? We highlighted how unusual London is – both in the UK and internationally - in having such a wealth of groups actively engaging in debates about markets.
- Threatened markets. Can the LMB consider and respond to concerns about the present threat to many of London’s most loved markets?
- The London Plan. Can the LMB strengthen support for the social value of markets in the London Plan, currently undergoing Examination in Public?
We also took the opportunity to share some emerging findings from 25 interviews and two workshops (with managers and campaigners; a third with traders is planned for April) which explored different perspectives on the value of markets, as well as our initial policy briefing (with the New Economics Foundation) on tools for measuring the value of markets. We also introduced the three case study markets – Bury Market, Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Grainger Market and Queen’s Market (Newham, London) – where we will be surveying 500 customers, interviewing 10 key local actors and undertaking two focus groups in each case. Finally, we tested out some of our early ideas for policy and industry-oriented outputs from the research.
LMB members were interested in discussing the value of markets, the meaning of the word ‘traditional’, case study selection and the research design. We look forward to further dialogue with the LMB as our research develops, and hope to return to present our findings in the autumn.
See our presentation to the LMB for further details.