Chapter 2. Planning context

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This chapter examines the planning context for markets. How they function and what their role is within a community will vary according to whether they are located in a rural village, a small town, a suburban area or a city centre.

A brief history of settlement growth

Retailing is normally one of the main commercial activities of settlements. In many circumstances, markets provide the dominant form of retail facility and are a major land use. In understanding the context of markets, therefore, it is also necessary to comprehend their relationship to the process of urbanization.

Prior to the 19th century, the typical city or market town in Europe was based around a market square which was not only the geographical centre of the settlement but also the social and commercial heart. as well as the religious and cultural focus of the community. The open area of the market square served a wide range of functions. providing retail facilities as well as entertainment. These market squares were often planned from the outset. In many other cases, particularly in rural areas, markets have resulted from spontaneous growth. A gathering of peddlers, when they start to do this at a given location and at a regular time, will create the nucleus of a market. This pattern continues today in many countries.

The industrialization of cities in Europe led to a demand for inexpensive shopping facilities and this was often met by providing purpose-built market structures. In England, for example, some 400 private Acts of Parliament were passed during the 19th century to enable the construction of market halls to take place, both in the centre of cities and in new suburban areas. Similar developments happened elsewhere in Europe, particularly in Spain and France (see Figure 8).

Industrialization also had the effect of changing the character and organization of cities and of promoting a desire for suburban living. In the 20th century the main influence on the location of new residential areas and their associated retailing facilities has been the emergence of the automobile as the primary form of mass public transport. In the USA, for example, the population of suburban areas in the 1950s grew at 30 times that of the inner cities and distances between the suburban areas and the centre of towns and cities increased considerably. The effect of this growth has resulted in the development of suburban shopping malls and out-of-town shopping centres based around highway accessibility. However, there has been a partial reversal of this trend recently with the construction of new urban shopping centres, often including market areas, as part of downtown or central area revitalisation and conservation programmes.

Markets in rural areas

The critical issues to be examined when considering interventions in the rural marketing system are the relationship of the market facilities to the pattern of rural settlements, the location and nature of agricultural production areas, how the regional road system is evolving, the possible assembly functions of a market, the present marketing channels and the relationship of rural markets to urban areas and their wholesale markets. The types of rural markets that need to be considered are:

Central place theory

One of the key concepts that needs to be understood in reviewing the functioning of markets is that they form one of the main components of rural towns and villages. In fact, they may be the main force behind the creation and economic livelihood of such settlements. They act as the "central place" in providing the population of the surrounding area with goods and services (a distribution function), and may also be the main mechanism for the assembly of local produce for the bulking-up and onward movement of the produce to urban areas.

Figures 9 illustrate how the linkage between centres might operate, with the individual settlements forming a series or "hierarchy" of "catchment areas" or "spheres of influence". The limit of a catchment area would be the result of the "range" or "threshold" for economically providing services or goods. The theoretical shape of catchment areas is circular, but it is normally represented as a series of nesting hexagons (see Figure 10). In reality, the location of centres and the shape of their related catchment areas is distorted by transport routes and other geographical features.

FIGURE 9.Trade links and general pattern of connections between village, town and regional markets. Source: Village Markets in Ghana. USAD. 1963.

FIGURE 10.A hierarchy of central places, with hexagonalshaped catchment areas, adapted from Christaller's marketing principle Source: DHV consulting Engineers. (1979). Guidelines for rural centre planning. Economic & Social Commission for Asia & the Pacific

In such a system, the lowest order centres (e.g. a village) would look to the next level (e.g. a small town) for more specialised services, ultimately culminating at the top of the hierarchy in the highest level of services, such as universities and speciality shops, provided in a regional or national capital. At the lowest level, periodic markets will only operate on one day in a week. A typical pattern of periodic markets, in the Ghana Upper Region, is illustrated in Figure 11.

As an illustration of the different scales of rural markets, an analysis of the features of ten rural markets in Bangladesh is summarised in Table 2.1. The smaller markets broadly correspond to a rural service centre or district centre and the larger market to that found in a growth centre (see below).

TABLE 2.1 Features of markets in rural towns in Bangladesh

  Average Typical market type:
Characteristics: 10 markets Small Large
1. Catchment area (sq. kms) 143.60 79.00 153.00
2. Total population 1981 ('000) 85.80 45.82 110.66
3. Market area (hectares) 1.40 0.72 4.69
4. Daily buyers/sellers (peak number) 29418.00 27418.00 47537.00
5. Annual auction revenue (Take '000) 325.90 11.00 1456.0 0
6. Open sales area (m²) 4694.00 3772.00 9651.00
7. Buyer/seller density (number/ha) 26862.00 38081.00 10136.00
8. Sales area as % of site area 32.00 52.40 20.60

Source: FAO Project No.TCP/BGD/4511

Levels of service

Governments often base their rural settlement policies on the principle of reinforcing an existing hierarchy of service centres as a means of reducing regional imbalances and distributing government services on an equitable basis. Typically, such a system has three levels of central places, which will also be reflected in the market facilities:

Building and improving existing rural markets

The improvement of markets located in major rural settlements is likely to require a detailed study of each market to establish the relative benefits of such developments. The high level of trade at such markets is likely to mean that a financially and economically viable project can be formulated, hut normally only if the level of market revenue collection can also be increased at the same time to cover the capital outlay.

FIGURE 11 Hierarchy of periodic markets, Bulsa, Upper Region, Ghana.

Source: Smith, R. and Gormsen, E. Eds. (1979) Market Place Exchange. Geograhisches Institut der Johannes Gutenberg Universität Main, Germany.

Typical layouts of rural markets are shown in Figures 12, 13 and 14. In all three layouts, the key factor in locating the markets is their relationship to other public facilities and particularly to the provision of lorry parking. Even at the level of a small open sales space (Figure 13) lorry parking needs special consideration.

In some circumstances, no real provision of marketing facilities may exist. This is illustrated in Figure 15, where the fish market simply operates on the beach of Lake Victoria, despite the market being one of the main sources of dried fish for the whole of Tanzania. Figure 16 shows a small rural market established in the highlands of Irian Jaya, Indonesia, close to the main air strip, in an area where no markets had formerly existed.

Improving the facilities of periodic markets operating in smaller settlements may present quite formidable problems - as it is usually difficult to increase revenues to cover the capital costs. This is despite the fact that by improving the range of goods and services provided at such centres it is often possible to have the greatest impact on the rural population, thus providing a stimulus to the rural economy. However, the improvements must be sustainable and an approach is needed based on keeping to a minimum the level of investment in physical infrastructure.

In Chapter 6, experiments in Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea are described. These are based on combining markets with the use of mobile public facilities, such as rural credit, agricultural production and marketing extension and input supply, allowing the maximum utilization of scarce personnel and of capital investments in buildings and equipment.

Assembly markets

Assembly markets are a slightly different case from other rural markets as their function is oriented to production rather than consumption. The purpose of such producer-area markets is to act as a focus for the display of local produce to outside buyers, typically from urban areas. In addition, they provide a point where the bulking-up of produce can occur. These markets are often purely seasonal and are highly vulnerable to changes in marketing habits and channels. Producers, if they believe that they can market directly themselves using their own transport, will often by-pass an assembly market. The distance of the assembly market from major urban area is, therefore , crucial. If the production area is close to an urban area the assembly market is not likely to be able to sustain its role. This is further discussed in the next section.

Assembly markets have a very important function in rural areas, particularly if they are also the points at which farmers can obtain credit, agricultural inputs and, sometimes, imported consumer goods. The linkage of the assembly market to retail markets may, therefore, be an important element of their success. In addition, they are highly sensitive to the level of charges operating in the market and, more than any other form of market, the assessment of their financial and economic viability must be undertaken in a rigorous manner. This will be highly dependent on adequate survey data being available. Trying to guess the throughput of even a small-scale assembly market is an impossible task. In Yemen, for example, substantial differences were found between an initial assessment of an assembly market's throughput based on traders' opinions and the results of a limited survey.

Transport of produce to markets

In formulating a rural market development project it will also be important to take account of the methods by which produce is transported to and from the markets. Most agricultural marketing systems are designed to allow a large number of small producers to sell as directly as possible to equally numerous small purchasers. This pattern is typical of many African countries, where most of the produce comes straight from the farm to the assembly market (and often directly to an urban market) and there is little bulking-up. This kind of marketing system influences the transport facilities and has two key characteristics:

Coordination of markets & other infrastructure improvements

In any rural development programme there will be a clear need to coordinate the upgrading of rural markets with that of associated infrastructure and services if the maximum benefits to agricultural production are to be obtained. This may include upgrading extension services and the improvement of feeder and access roads, bridges and irrigation structures. River and coastal wharves directly serving market areas may also be critical links in the transport system.

The usual difficulty in developing such a programme, where a project intends to improve both roads and markets, will be to strike the right investment balance between the different components. A judgement will need to be made on how these two components will interact. Investment in local markets may be counter-productive if the simultaneous improvement of access and feeder roads either encourages the farmer to market more produce at the farm gate or deliver produce directly to urban markets. For this reason, it is essential that the flows in the present marketing system are well understood. Therefore' systematic market surveys need to be undertaken.

A variant of the integration of markets with other infrastructure arises where new agricultural areas are opened up and new settlements are constructed to provide services. An example of this is illustrated on a small scale in Figure 14 with a village centre in Indonesia related to a new dry land cropping scheme. Figure 17 illustrates this on a larger scale, with a town centre based around a market area serving a major new irrigation scheme.

Criteria for designing rural market improvement programmes

In developing rural market improvement programmes it is first necessary to determine (after survey and analysis, see Chapters 3 and 8) that the improvements are worthwhile. From such an analysis, it may be established, for example, that a programme's main priority should be to improve only those markets which have an assembly function. The improvement of markets which have solely a local retail function may not be either financially or economically viable. Within these constraints, two additional selection criteria need to be adopted:

(a) there should be a willingness on the part of market traders to improve the efficiency of the present market operations and to accept higher rents and charges as a condition of improvements being made; and
(b) the emphasis should be on markets where the private sector takes on the responsibility for improving individual sheds and stalls, and the improvement programme should concentrate its activities on the upgrading of "common" infrastructure (i.e. roads, paving, fencing, drainage, latrines, etc.).

As part of a rural market improvement programme, the main markets of nearby urban areas may need to be improved in order to expand the opportunities for meeting demand created by population growth and by changes in consumption (e.g for higher-value produce). This may necessitate enhancing facilities for the handling of produce, both to reduce post-harvest losses and to reduce the time spent by farmers and traders bringing produce to urban market. Such project interventions should again also be conditional on introducing increased charges to cover the project costs and on establishing the willingness of traders to accept these charges.

Retail markets in urban areas

To understand the role of markets in urban areas it is necessary to understand their relationship to demographic changes in city structure, changing traffic patterns, the availability of public transport, conflicts with other land uses and the location of the residential population they are serving. In addition, factors such as pressures for redevelopment of inner city sites, market relocation problems and potential linkages to wholesale markets should be taken into account. Two basic types of market need to considered:

Urban master plans and planning controls

Proposals for the development of a market will need to take account of the how urban growth is occurring and to conform with any comprehensive development plan and future urban strategy, where this is available. Many urban areas are characterised by rapid, uncontrolled and outward growth and the main features of such plans would normally include the designation of new residential and industrial development areas and improved primary and secondary road systems. Despite the spontaneous growth of informal-sector marketing activities, typified by increasing number of hawkers, the issue of market location is often not directly addressed in a plan. The problem is frequently exacerbated by a general shortage of affordable commercial land, often compounded by land tenure constraints. However, the overall land use and transportation policies a plan contains are likely to be relevant to the evolution of many of the social and physical planning aspects of market development programmes.

Urban growth patterns

Urban land uses tend to group together for reasons of economic advantage. This clustering forms a nucleus - the city or town centre providing a wide and rich range of services and facilities. If this nucleus keeps expanding then the comparative advantage of access to the centre gets lost. A rough rule of thumb to use is that for retail services the city centre should ideally directly serve around 300,000 people. Beyond this figure it will usually be necessary to plan for additional retail areas to serve the suburban areas.

A convenient unit often used for town planning purposes is to divide the urban area into local neighbourhoods of one to three kilometres across. This might correspond with a population of 5,000 - 10,000 people. Such a neighbourhood would be served by a small shopping area and a retail market.

Intersections of transport systems and modes provide the most convenient locations for markets, particularly if the transfer distance between different transport modes is minimised (e.g a taxi rank next to the railway station, etc.). The typical growth of market facilities at bus stands in developing countries demonstrates this.

Locating market facilities

In locating shopping facilities a difficult balance has to be struck between the retailers' natural desire to maximize profit and the consumers' desire to have the convenience of a wide range of reasonably priced services and facilities within a short distance of where they live. Both factors should influence the location of market facilities. However, the catchment area of groups of shops or market stalls is likely to be greater than it would be for an individual retail unit. Therefore, large areas of many towns, particularly low-density suburban areas, may consequently have lower levels of retail services. An analysis of urban catchment areas is illustrated in Figure 18, which shows the areas served by markets in Calcutta.

The need for new facilities may often be filled by local corner shops and small-scale markets, particularly if rental levels are sufficiently low. These facilities fill the gap in the existing pattern of retail shopping by locating themselves to take advantage of areas where there are potential, and often low-income, local consumers. In developing countries, small scale shops may be located within dwellings, although zoning practices by planning authorities often forbid this on the grounds that it is disruptive to residential areas.

Before deciding on the improvement of an individual market it is desirable to review the range of market facilities available within an urban area. In doing this the factors that need to be considered in assessing the location of the market are population density and the purchasing power of the population (these factors are further discussed later on under the topic of suburban markets).

In order to review the provision of markets in an urban area the following procedure can be used:

Urban catchment areas

The purpose of an analysis of existing retail facilities should be to change the pattern of markets from one which is random to a distribution of markets which is more economically stable. To achieve this, surveys of the existing retail pattern will be required (see Chapter 3) to identify and map the location of existing facilities and potential consumers. Gaps in the pattern of retailing need to be identified and within these gaps new markets and small shops should be located next to clusters of other kinds of shops. The broad characteristics of an overall pattern or hierarchy of markets and retail facilities for a major city is shown in Table 2.2

TABLE 2.2 Theoretical urban market population catchments

  Population Served Minimum distance apart (kms.)
City centre/main covered market 300,000 16.0
District shopping centre/covered market 50,000 6.5
Neighbourhood shopping centre/open market 10,000 2.9
Group of shops/street market 4,000 1.8
Corner groceries/street barrows 1,000 0.8

Notes:The table assumes an average population density of around 2,000 persons per square kilometre. If the density is say 1,000 persons per square kilometre the distance needs to be increased to 1.4 times the distance specified in the table. if the density is say 3,000 persons per square kilometre the distance needs to be reduced by a factor of 0.8.

Locational characteristics of markets in urban areas

Within urban areas, markets should form one of the main uses that would be strategically located in an urban master plan and, ideally, all the urban population should be within ten to fifteen minutes walk of some form of shop or market stall.

Street markets, like other shopping streets, depend on a high level of access. Modern shopping centres and supermarkets are generally located directly adjacent to major roads, with the shopping centre located within a parking area and with a pedestrian-only area within the shopping centre itself. This form of development is unlikely to be appropriate for shopping streets and street markets in traditional areas of cities, which are typically mixed-use areas, often with older buildings. There will usually be a need for a mixture of modes of access for those using markets, to include people coming by foot, by bus, by car, etc. However, there is often a direct problem of conflict between shoppers and traffic.

The ideal solution for all urban markets, and particularly street markets, is to locate them at right angles to main traffic arteries, linking with pedestrian routes and with parking areas behind so that cars can pull off the main road without entering the market area. To minimize their impact on the environment, parking areas for markets should preferably be located in small-scale lots, shielded from view by plants or walls.

Land ownership and values

Markets need to be considered in relation to the nature of their ownership. Individual stalls are small-scale units, which are usually family-run businesses, in contrast to larger-scale operations such as supermarkets. Market stall holders needs are, therefore, completely different. The overall market area, however, is likely to come under one overall ownership, either that of a private landowner or, more typically for urban market areas, by a local or municipal authority.

High land values or a lack of suitable land in public ownership in order to expand an existing market or build a new one is often a major constraint in urban areas. Quite ingenious solutions to this problem can be developed, including the infilling of existing streets with market structures (see Figure 48). On the other hand, urban markets often find themselves in locations which are no longer appropriate to the present distribution of urban population.

Markets also generally occupy a considerable area of land on prime sites in the centres of towns and villages. Therefore, the opportunity cost, in terms of the rent that might be earned from alternative uses on the market site, needs to be considered. The existing value of the land may not be substantial, but it may be likely to increase as the general economy starts to grow.

It will, therefore, be up to a local authority or market board to clearly demonstrate that retaining a market in its present location or building one on a new site is the best use of public resources (see Chapter 8). As an example, in the city of Leicester, in England, it was established that the best economic use of the existing market square was to retain it in market use and to improve facilities, rather than undertake a complete redevelopment.

Suburban markets

The provision of new markets in suburban areas needs to be integrated in the planning process. Land for a market site should therefore, be allocated in any local comprehensive development plan and be located near to other communal and commercial facilities. Land will need to be reserved in the plan for long-term market growth (5 to 20 years), otherwise there may be no possibility of expansion.

Although the ultimate goal may be to construct a permanent covered market, a possible short-term strategy for a new suburban area can be to encourage the provision of retail facilities through mobile vendors or street markets. An existing unplanned spontaneous market is often a good indicator that an area is in need of permanent market facilities. The factors influencing whether a new market in a suburban area is likely to be successful are:

FIGURE 20 1,400 m² covered retail market, Sidi-bel-Abbès, Algeria.

Source: Aloi, R. ( 1959). Mercati e Negozi, Ulrico Hoepli Editore Milano
1. entrance
2. exit
3. stalls
4. shops

A balance will need to be struck between locating a market in a low-income, high-density area or in a middle-income area with greater purchasing power. On balance, it is likely to be more commercially viable to invest in the development of retail facilities in low-income areas with a high density, provided that access by other income groups is easily obtained and that the management of the market is able to encourage the sale of a wide range of goods.

An example of a new suburban multi-use market is illustrated in Figure 19. In this case, the market is constructed on reclaimed land (formerly in rice cultivation) adjacent to a new major highway, but between an existing low-income housing area and a new middle-income suburb.

Integration of street vendors with markets

The importance of the informal sector in many countries cannot be over-emphasised. Formal urban wholesaling and retailing activities normally form a relatively small proportion of total commercial sector employment. However, there is usually substantial under-estimating of the real employment in retailing as the number of street vendors is often not taken into account. Street vendors provide an important means of supplementary employment, particularly for women. Vendors normally operate from a variety of locations, ranging from tables outside markets' the backs of vans and lorries, down to small-scale street "hawkers" with a single box of produce to sell.

Upgrading of an existing retail market area should include any adjacent streets and provide measures to assist street vendors in order that they can be properly integrated with the market and so that environmental and traffic conditions can be improved. Assistance is normally required (usually provided by the engineering department of a local authority) in planning such an upgrading programme. This might include improved water supplies and better drainage, and facilities for the daily collection of solid waste.

Selecting an urban market site

The ideal approach when considering whether to improve an existing market or when selecting a new market site is to make on-the-ground observations of the potential site. The best method is to cover the area by walking all the streets in a five-minute radius around the site, observing the existing environment, including shops and other commercial activities. Interviews with customers and surrounding shopkeepers will provide a good indication of the commercial opportunities for the project.

It will be necessary to consider the relative merits of different options. Sites should ideally be located within or near to high density residential areas, rather than in areas with low density or non-residential uses (e.g. industry). Proximity to other facilities, such as shops, post office and banks is essential. A site around a public square or adjacent to busy streets with wide pavements is better than one in a cul-de-sac or in an area of static or declining trading opportunities. Nearness to public transport facilities (such as bus stops or a railway station) is very important and, if it does not have its own facilities, the site should be close to adequate parking. For new sites, the presence of public utilities, such as water and electricity, is essential.

FIGURE 22.Covered retail market Guadalajara, Mexico.

Criteria for urban market improvement programmes

Urban market improvement programmes need generally to follow the same criteria as for rural markets described earlier in this chapter, i.e. a willingness of traders to participate in the programme and an emphasis on the improvement of common infrastructure. Such criteria are also directly applicable to urban street markets. For covered markets, however, there will almost certainly be a need to upgrade or provide new structures and the implementation and cost for this work will have to be borne by a market authority, with cost recovery through increased rents. Priorities for urban markets will also be slightly different: the alleviation of health risks (through, for example, upgrading drainage systems), urban conservation requirements and the need to reduce traffic congestion may be the main motives for undertaking the improvement programme.

FIGURE 23.Conservation plan for the Zanzibar Stone Town Market, Tanzania.

A wide range of contrasting conditions can be met in urban market improvement programmes and these are illustrated in Figures 20 to 25. For example, Figure 20 shows a covered market exclusively for fruit and vegetables in Algeria, built on a site where there were few constraints to development and which could also accommodate a separate fish market (see Figures 37 and 57). Figure 21 also shows a completely new retail market in Wolverhampton, England, but on a valuable central area site where the market development needed to be integrated with an underground car park, shopping units and multi-storey office accommodation.

Figure 23 illustrate a complex problem of redevelopment in the Old Stone Town in Zanzibar. The 19th century covered fish and meat market needed conservation, whilst also allowing improvements to be made to other parts of the existing market and surrounding streets (particularly their surface water drainage). The pressure on the market area by wholesalers was to be relieved by the construction of a new auction slab which would mostly operate during the peak season. In addition, new sheds would be provided for the retailing of fruit and vegetables. Figure 24 shows a similar approach taken in the Castries Central Market in St. Lucia. Figure 25 illustrates a new fish and multi-use market located on a reclamation area in Tawau Bay, Malaysia, on land adjacent to an existing open retail market and shops.

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