The Transformative Role of Marketplaces in 21st Century Cities

Mörtenböck, Peter; Mooshammer, Helge and Fanni, Maryam. 2024. 'The Transformative Role of Marketplaces in 21st Century Cities'. In: Urban Futures: From Essentials to Experiences. Institute for Future Studies, Stockholm, Sweden 4 June 2024. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Informality is on the rise. From remote labour and services-on-demand to food trucks and pop-up shops, its transformative power can be seen in new urban relations of producing, consuming and living. The emerging tension between the formal and the informal is nowhere more evident than in struggles over contested urban marketplaces. Urban markets are an everyday source for cheap groceries, for example, linked to an informal economy supporting a large number of people across the globe. At the same time, luxurious farmers markets and curated second-hand sales cater to young professionals, revealing an aesthetic quality to informality that promotes specific urban desires and experiences.

With multi-layered visual analyses of markets - from Bangkok’s Saphan Lek to New York’s Brooklyn Flea, researchers Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer reveal the obscured connections between informal trade, neoliberal governance and urban development in the new book IN/FORMAL Marketplaces: Experiments with Urban Reconfiguration. What are the motivations, practices and effects of the rise of informality? Drawing on the research of Maryam Fanni, among others, how can this phenomenon be understood in the specific Swedish context?

The seminar further explores these questions in connection with Benjamin Gerdes’s research project Ghost Platform, considering urban markets as highly visible hubs of activity inside broader labour practices and infrastructures for the movement of goods, persons, and data that, in contrast, remain largely invisible. How then might the assembled case studies provide visual research methods that uniquely engage the emergent architectural and urban configurations of the formal-informal linkages at the heart of these dynamics?

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Panel)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


4 June 2024Completed

Event Location:

Institute for Future Studies, Stockholm, Sweden

Date range:

4 June 2024

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

04 Jun 2024 08:44

Last Modified:

04 Jun 2024 08:44


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