Markets: The Barcelona experience

Barcelona boasts a network of public markets consisting of 40 municipal facilities located around the city. In 1992, through the Municipal Institute of Barcelona Markets, the City Council launched a plan to update Barcelona's markets. This plan promotes the redevelopment of market buildings, adapting them to the general public's new needs and demands and making them more comfortable for shopping and the services offered by retailers.

The aim was to provide support for local commerce as an economic, urban and social driving force, as well as to safeguard existing jobs and create new ones. As it is a highly competitive sector, markets need to be fully competitive, and it was decided to introduce new elements that characterise the Barcelona Model for promoting and managing markets, including: the introduction of new operators, such as supermarkets, extended opening hours and services, adaptation of the business mix, promoting the restaurant industry within market interiors, retailer training, improving the use of energy resources and waste treatment. However, the cornerstone of the management system is public-private collaboration, which has enabled the funding of projects and a consensus for undertaking new initiatives.

The Barcelona model has also improved relations between markets and the community, by extending the benefits of redevelopment work to the markets' local neighbourhoods and to the city in general. That is why every improvement project is accompanied by measures which provide improvements for local residents and customers.

Barcelona Markets has published "Mercats. L'experiència de Barcelona" [Markets: the Barcelona Experience], which you can consult online or download from this page. It explains the main features of the "Barcelona Model" for markets, including:


The management system

The Business Mix

Comfort improvement measures

Extended services and opening hours

Training programmes for professionals

Integrated communication strategy

Links with neighbourhood

City icons

Promoting healthy eating

Energy efficiency and waste reduction.