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Markets as Public Spaces

4. Market as Public Spaces.jpg

The bazaars are synonymous with public spaces in the Indian context and we explore that here. One realises that the spontaneity of the bazaar environment, its response to the changing seasons or festivals and its ability to exude charm amidst the chaos is fascinating and yet it throws up so many questions in our minds. The Indian bazaars are renowned for being chaotic. Yet, they are also considered an integral part of the daily lives of all, be it customers, vendors, or any other stakeholder. We explore here the various interdependencies between the different stakeholders in these markets.

We had conducted a competition on this theme in March 2022. You can view the featured entries here:

This chai vendor is situated in a place surrounded by various educational institutes in the University area in Ahmedabad. He shares that his customer base has decreased substantially during and after the pandemic with the online operation of educational institutions and firms operating nearby.

Tripathi Bhai uses a tempo and the space outside it, where he sells cigarettes and other packaged food. After the pandemic, he has upgraded his setup with a chai stall beside the tempo. He talks about the changes in the street just before and after the pandemic and the significant decline in the customers at the food vendors and cloth vendors there.

The vegetable vendor occupies the space on the collector street junction, which links Jodhpur Gam and Anand Nagar. He talks about the transformation of the street due to the pandemic and how the Municipal Corporation has helped them in various ways during the pandemic.

Ashok Bhai is a chai vendor situated on Drive-In Road abutting the Commerce junction. He shares that this area has witnessed radical changes due to the pandemic as well as the ongoing Metro construction. He says that there have been significant changes in the movement patterns of people. He adds that after the first lockdown, there has been a 50% reduction in the customers visiting his stall.