13. Planning and environmental design criteria

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This chapter describes the calculation methods that can be used for estimating market building requirements and reviews the process and types of criteria that will need to be adopted in preparing the site plan and building designs and in making an environmental assessment of a market development project.

Selecting a new market site

In considering a site for a new market, public bodies are frequently pressured into accepting a location which is already owned by central or local government. This obviously simplifies the problem of land acquisition, but the justification for relocation and the characteristics of a proposed site still need to be rigorously analysed before this solution is accepted. Full consultations will be required with all the interested parties. The issues involved and desirable features to be reviewed in choosing a new site are discussed below

Number of market sites. The first decision that needs to be considered is whether it is necessary to concentrate all wholesaling activities at a single site. It may be possible for an existing market to serve the central area of a town and for outer suburban areas to be served by a new market. Alternatively, the scale of a city may favour more than one outer wholesale market, which may serve either the needs of producers bringing produce from different directions or the needs of retailers in a city with widely dispersed retail areas. The potential location of market sites to serve a city are shown in Figure 27. It may be appropriate to adopt a multiple-market solution for a city:

· if there are many small-scale retailers, with premises scattered throughout the city;
· if retailers' transport facilities arc inadequate and
· if roads are highly congested.

Size of site. The estimation of a suitable size for a new site is a difficult question as comprehensive detail is unlikely to be available on existing trading or on the desirable range of facilities that the site might need to accommodate. Suitable methods for estimating site size can be based on two basic criteria: urban population and annual turnover. An approximate basis for making such an assessment is to use a figure of 4 - 5 tons of turnover per mē of overall site area area. More detailed figures on which to make an assessment are discussed in the next section in this chapter on estimating space requirement (see Tables 13.1 - 13.4).

Figure 27 Location of wholesale markets within a city

There are, however, likely to be wide deviations between countries in what is appropriate, because of seasonal fluctuations in supply, trading practices, cultural differences and the dissimilar natures of markets. Some may be exclusively for terminal trade in a city, while others may have a strong export or re-assembly orientation.

Locations A new site for a wholesale market it will need to be reviewed at two levels: its general location within the urban area and its siting within its immediate neighbourhood.

The siting of a market should ideally be adjacent to a main road, preferably with more than one point of access. A direct approach off a heavily used major highway or close to a major intersection may, however, cause site planning problems, which are only likely to be become more difficult with the build up over time of traffic. The ideal site is one visible from the main highway but which has its own segregated point of access not mixed up with local traffic. For many markets the produce is likely to be brought by bus and a location near to bus routes is therefore essential. Employees at the market and small retailers are also likely to depend on public transport, which in Asia may include bicycle rickshaws and small-scale motorized forms of transport.

The location of the market within the urban area should be a balance between the needs of the producers or their agents using inter-city transport routes, and those of the retailers who have to collect produce from the market and are using intra-city transport routes. A common criterion is adopt a maximum travel time of around 30 minutes for retailers to reach the wholesale market.

In towns and cities where the main retail area is still located in the centre there is frequently a conflict of interests. Municipal authorities are often eager to obtain use of a vacated central area site, justifying this on the basis of changes in the retailing structure of a city and of relieving traffic congestion. Such a move would usually be supported by the police and traffic authorities. Government departments are also inclined to support the relocation of markets, on the often valid basis that the move could increase the range of facilities that are available and reduce the stranglehold of existing trading monopolies, as well as for more dubious reasons, such as prestige and as a means of gaining control from existing commercial interests.

Many projects involving relocation of a market have foundered on the issue of a suitable site location, with a move from an old location being delayed or aborted because of opposition from wholesalers, retailers and other traders. It must not be forgotten in reviewing the need to relocate a market that it is likely to be a major employer of low-income labour. particularly of male porters and of women traders, who could be badly affected by an unneccessary move to an urban periphery market site.

Physical characteristics of the site. Although the main criteria for relocation may be to obtain an inexpensive and uncongested site which is of adequate size for present and future activities, the physical characteristics of a site arc also of critical importance. The primary consideration should be that the area is level, with stable soil conditions and not within a flood-plain. Sites with slopes of less than one per cent tend to be difficult to drain, while it is difficult to provide road access on sites over 15 percent in gradient. The latter sites are also likely to have potential soil erosion problems. The optimum range of gradients is 1 - 4 per cent, which should lead to the least-cost construction for roads, services and large-span market buildings.

Figure 28 Relationship between city size, turnover and market area

The site should, ideally, already be provided with public services, particularly water and electricity and also have a regular and compact shape, as irregular shapes will be wasteful, leaving Houseful pockets of land. The surrounding development should be compatible with the market. A location close to a residential area or public hospital, for example, is likely to lead to nuisance problems from the heavy traffic using the market and the long hours of operation. An ideal location of a market is on the edge of a light industrial area, with easy access to existing and future retail areas.

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