Nylda Hamchaoui is a third year architecture student at UEL and blogs about this subject for Your Universe. Her opinions are her own.
“What is a market?”
A question that has initiated an array of ideas on what it is but also what it can become to those who use it.
Observing Ridley Road market, or commonly known as Dalston Market has suggested that market spaces are not as simple as we’d like them to believe. Initially, markets are commercial spaces rented by stallholders in order to sell goods (food, clothing, household items etc) but slowly we begin to discover that this is what happens on the surface. It appears that some stall owners are in fact shopkeepers, but this place also belongs to the children and locals who walk through it everyday. For some, it is their livelihoods and for others it is the place where they seek refuge from daily struggles or to simply socialise with others.
To those who use markets on a regular basis, the space brings value to their lives. What excites me the most about markets are the social interactions; you are given the choice to be part of a greater community whether you are there to make a purchase or meet a friend. For a brief moment, you are welcomed by the scents and smells of spices and fragrances, comforted by the murmurs of chatter and whiffs of food that you could only taste by travelling abroad.
Markets like this bring various cultures together in a community; instead of becoming a place of conflict they become a place of connection. With that being said, I think it is important that we should look at markets as informal architecture, one that is built not on the basis of physical infrastructure but on the connections we build with one another in these spaces.