The International Online Workshop on Marketplace Governance (titled in Spanish Encuentro-Taller Internacional sobre Gobernanza de Mercados y Comercio Popular) was held on May 23-24, 2022. This workshop sought to provide a virtual space for marketplace stakeholders to gather and discuss marketplace governance issues, primarily in Latin American countries. Thus, the workshop brought together over 50 market trader leaders, government official responsible for marketplaces, academics, and activists to share experiences and exchange ideas for the preservation and improvement of marketplaces. Delegates attended the workshop from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Peru, and the United Kingdom.


The workshop activities consisted of eight short presentations that drew on recent research. These presentations provided an overview of the research conducted in and about marketplaces by the organisers as well as ideas and questions for further discussion. Presenters reflected on multiple aspects shaping marketplace governance, such as heritage and cultural policies, maintenance budgets, fair trade practices, work legislation, and urban regeneration. They focused on the following case studies: Alto Hospicio (Chile), Cuenca (Ecuador), Mexico City and San Luis Potosi (Mexico), Buenos Aires (Argentina), São Paulo (Brazil), Madrid (Spain), and Sofia (Bulgaria).

Workshop sessions

Three workshop activities provided a space to discuss in small groups the stakeholders’ experiences concerning marketplaces’ functions, regulations and governing institutions, and official policies and grassroots initiatives for their protection. Workshop activities were facilitated using a collaborative online whiteboard, which allowed participants and facilitators to capture ideas and opinions as they were presented. As an international online meeting, these sessions provided the time for participants to engage with other governance experiences. They also created an opportunity to discuss shared concerns about the future of marketplaces and discuss strategies for their preservation and improvement.

Given the objective of prioritising the participation of market traders, government officials and activists, the organisation of this workshop dealt with various logistical challenges. Among them, the difficulty to reconcile the digital nature of the workshop activities, the participants’ multiple time zones, and the traders’ diverse working agendas and multiple responsibilities. Notwithstanding, the workshop was well-received and achieved its main goals: 1) to encourage a wider, international conversation with stakeholders about the significance of grassroots knowledge and practice in marketplace governance; 2) to provide a platform for networking; and 3) to outline central themes to be incorporated in the elaboration of the case studies collection.


  1. León Felipe Téllez Contreras The University of Sheffield
  2. Stoyanka Andreeva Eneva Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  3. Luis Emilio Martínez Universidad de Cuenca
  4. Claudia T. Gasca Moreno Universidad de Guanajuato
  5. María Florencia Marcos Centro de Estudios Urbanos y Regionales (CEUR) -CONICET
  6. Felipe Rangel Universidade de São Paulo
  7. Elvira Mateos Carmona Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  8. Eduardo Osterling Dankers Secretaría de Planificación I.M. Huara