Project for Public Spaces

Request for Letters of Interest

Host City for the 12th International Public Markets Conference

“Hosting the 11th International Public Market Conference provided an excellent chance for Toronto’s market leaders to collaborate, share ideas, and learn from a global network of peers. The conference showcased Toronto’s grassroots approach to building a Market City and spurred much-needed action in our city. Following the event, market managers and vendors presented to the Economic and Community Development Committee resulting in the City Council's approval to develop Toronto’s first Public Market Action Plain 2024!"

―Marina Queirolo, Founder and Steward of marketcityTO

Learn more about what happened at our 2023 conference in Toronto here!


January 25, 2024


The Market Cities Program at Project for Public Spaces is seeking letters of interest to co-host the 12th International Public Markets Conference to be held in the spring of 2025. 

For over 35 years, the International Public Markets Conference has brought together leading public market leaders and advocates including 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 to explore the cutting edge of market practice.

Since 1987, eleven conferences have been held in: Seattle, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Vancouver, New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Cleveland, Barcelona, London, and Toronto. The three-day conference program includes a plenary, breakout sessions, networking receptions, and locally organized workshops and market tours. Topics range from how markets can play a leading role in the re-creation of our local food systems to how markets can revitalize communities and public spaces.

Our last conference, held in Toronto in 2023, brought together leading public market operators, developers, and thought-leaders representing 130 cities and 23 countries. At this event, we announced the Market Cities Network, the first international forum for markets of all kinds and the people committed to their success. The next conference will continue the theme of Market Cities and continue to grow the network, while demonstrating how this vision for public market systems supports the creation of infrastructure, policies, and investments in public markets at all levels of government.


Co-hosting the 12th International Public Markets Conference provides an opportunity to highlight your city or region’s public market scene, as well as tie the conference agenda to the goals of the co-host partner and its unique context. The conference will expose national and international market leaders to your region’s various markets and market-related activity, which might include initiatives such as urban gardens, community kitchens, and business incubation efforts, for example. The conference’s plenary and mobile workshop topics will also showcase the specific efforts and activities taking place in your region. In addition, with approximately 400 attendees, the conference will draw tourism dollars to your region, and draw international attention to your city’s markets and special initiatives. The conference and the local community will be promoted internationally to thousands of market sponsors, managers, and advocates.  

Learn more about the benefits of co-hosting. Download the overview.


The ideal co-host will be able to showcase their local vibrant market scene, as well as a variety of public spaces and local attractions. Public markets include both indoor and outdoor, food and non-food markets, and may range from large central wholesale and retail markets to neighborhood markets and informal markets of street vendors. They will also have a strong connection to the area’s market scene; good working relationships with local agencies, businesses, and organizations; and a willingness to dedicate staff capacity and time to assist with the planning and organizing of an international conference. The ideal co-host will also be able to generate a representative committee made up of city agencies, relevant nonprofits, and/or elected officials that can assist in the planning and fundraising efforts. A demonstrated interest in developing a local Market Cities strategy is a plus. A pedestrian, bike, and transit-friendly environment will be favorably considered. It is also essential that the event has a strong focus on equity in planning decisions from the outset.


The Public Markets Conference involves 9-12 months of planning leading up to the event. The event itself will ideally convene in May or June 2025.

Local hosts will provide guidance and assistance to Project for Public Spaces’ conference organizers, and generally be responsible for the following:

  • Assign one full-time employee from the co-host team to the position of local organizer.
  • Identify and secure a professional conference coordinator to handle logistics.
  • Identify and coordinate 10+ mobile workshops and 4+ market tours.
  • Identify and coordinate venues to accommodate up to 400 attendees.
  • Identify a hotel to accommodate attendees for three nights.
  • Identify reception locations, and coordinate catering/décor.
  • Assist in identifying a keynote, workshop topics, and potential speakers.
  • Develop and manage a Local Host Committee.
  • Fundraise at minimum $75,000 cash (USD) locally to support conference activities, in
    addition to $30,000 cash as a local host contribution upon signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
  • Promote the conference to potential local and regional attendees.
  • Connect with relevant local media contacts for promoting the event.
  • Provide on-site support and volunteers during the conference week

Full responsibilities will be detailed in a future Memorandum of Understanding between Project for Public Spaces and selected co-host.


Applications may be submitted as a PDF or MS Word format no later than January 25, 2024.

The Letter of Interest should not exceed three (3) pages. Full proposals are not requested at this time. We will issue a Request for Proposals only to select finalists after receiving and evaluating responses to this initial request.

Respondents should focus on the Selection Criteria above to specify why their city/region is an ideal location for the next conference. Respondents should outline what they hope to accomplish by co-hosting the conference, both in terms of how this builds upon their previous work, and how it will further their goals for their organization and for the greater city and/or region. In writing your letter, please also specifically indicate your general ability to fulfill the co-host responsibilities listed above. 


Letter of Interest opens: November 12, 2023
Letter of interest deadline: January 25, 2024
Full proposal invitation: February, 2024

Full proposal deadline: April, 2024
Finalist interviews: May, 2024
Final decision: Late Spring, 2024

Please direct all inquiries to Rebecca Weiser at

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