Genís Arnàs, Markets Service Manager, and Xavier Trull, the Manager of Mercat de la Llibertat, have made a second visit to Medellín, to continue advising and sharing their knowledge with the city's markets.
The visit is part of the process of transferring "Good Practices" initiated in 2009 between the Mayor's Office of the Colombian city of Medellín and the Barcelona Municipal Markets Institute (IMMB), which is driven by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and Barcelona City Council's own Department for International Cooperation as part of the ERICA knowledge transfer programme, and continues the process embarked on since then.
During their second visit to Medellín, Genís Arnàs and Xavier Trull met policy makers at the "Secretariat for Social Development" and the "Government Secretariat". They also carried out joint work with officials from the Mayor's Office of Medellín and policy makers from the various areas involved in projects for transforming the network of 14 "public shopping centres" and "market squares". These officials included the "Centre Manager" and the "Public Space Manager".
The transfer has focused on four aspects
First, visiting and assessing the improvements achieved in "public shopping centres" as a result of the recommendations made on the last trip (2009) and accompanying the Medellín delegation on their visit to Barcelona's markets (July 2010).
Second, accompanying the Tejelo Market redevelopment project and advising on the model for the new shopping area module and its legal aspects, as well as on the possibility of establishing specific rules and regulations for this market derived from the current Barcelona Markets byelaw.
The Tejelo Market redevelopment is of vital importance and much of the knowledge transfer from Barcelona Markets officials has focused on that. It has repercussions for the planned urban and commercial redevelopment of the area, given its privileged location in the tourist and cultural corridor of Medellín city centre.
The visit also focused on providing advice on another aspect of great importance, the development of associations, based on the successful experience of Barcelona's markets.
Finally the delegation also visited the recently created Nuevo Occidente area, the site of the 2010 Pan American Games athletes' village, which is expected to accommodate a population of over 80,000 people, and include, besides other services, a new market.
Barcelona's successful model
On the whole, the transfer has a special interest in applying the Barcelona Markets' successful and wholly unique model to the city of Medellín.
A model based on a public service vocation run by Barcelona City Council itself, which in turn bases its action on balancing policies that guarantee the rights and needs of city residents who see the markets as a benchmark for local commerce when it comes to buying fresh food.
A system that preserves the values of a society interested in health and sustainability and, at the same time, ensuring the viability of the traders' businesses, meeting new demands through constant modernisation.
Despite the different political, economic and social situations facing the two cities, the continuity of this transfer shows once again how the development needs of 21st-century society in Barcelona and Medellín are much more similar, global, than they would appear at first sight, thus allowing successful formulas, suitably adapted, to be exchanged.