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Read the conference Report

Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is proud to host the 9th International Public Markets Conference in one of world’s greatest Market Cities – Barcelona. Arguably the international model for a Market City, Barcelona boasts 43 food and non-food public markets, many of which have recently undergone major renovation. We are delighted to host this event with the Institut Municipal de Mercats de Barcelona (IMMB) – operator of the city’s remarkable market system – in partnership with UN-Habitat.

The conference will focus on new trends and innovations for the preservation and revitalization of public markets internationally – from temporary open air markets to permanent market halls to 24/7 bustling market districts.

Over three days the world’s leading public market operators, developers and thought-leaders will experience how Barcelona succeeds as a Market City. Together, we will articulate a new global vision for public markets as authentic places that are increasingly recognized for their contributions to sustainable food systems, local economic development and rural-urban linkages. 

Conference participants will spend an entire day visiting and learning about the inner workings of Barcelona’s extraordinary markets, led by IMMB experts.

Mayor Trias of Barcelona’s Invitation!

Barcelona provides a remarkable backdrop for the discussion of the future of markets – their challenges, innovations, and opportunities. A wide array of international speakers will explore:

Why markets matter – and why they represent one of the most cost-effective investment cities can make 

Innovative ways markets are achieving a broad range of community benefits

New trends in market design, infrastructure, and management

Evolving forms and types of indoor and outdoor markets

Strengthening markets as focal points for linking rural and urban economies

Expanding roles for preserving food culture and stimulating food innovation

Catalytic impacts of markets as public spaces and community destinations

Addressing economic and real estate challenges facing markets today

Upcoming opportunities to expand strategic global policy support for markets

Market Tours

Conference tours will visit a wide range of markets throughout Barcelona including such highlights as the recently renovated Santa Caterina Market, to Sant Antoni Market currently operating in a temporary location while its 19th Century market building undergoes renovation, to one of the oldest markets in Europe, Encants Barcelona, a flea market which just moved to a new building that retains an open-air feel within the vicinity of Plaça de les Glòries. Click here for a full description of the tours.


The conference will bring together public market leaders, advocates, and representatives from throughout the world. A broad mix of government leaders, market managers, downtown planners, grassroots organizers, local food advocates, transportation experts, health care professionals, and educators from around the world will be participating. 

We strongly encourage delegations from specific cities to attend the conference together, providing an opportunity for market operators, municipal staff, and civic leadership to learn more about the future of markets together, and take the lessons back to their home communities.