Urban planning and food (12) Markets

A night view of the Mercado de San Miguel

A night view of the Mercado de San Miguel

The city of Madrid has historically had a set of public markets into buildings; up to the 1980s these markets asumed a large part of the fresh food supply to the population, but the increase in car ownership rates and the rise of peripheral big box supermarkets stopped the creation of new markets and set for a decline in their use. But some five years ago the city decided that it would create a new market for the first time in decades as to ensure some variety in the new Ensanche de Vallecas (a vast new growth area in which there were no street level stores), and that it would revive markets through a double strategy: introducing in some of them mid-sized supermarkets that could improve the appeal to consumers and, for the San Miguel and San Antón markets, a refurbishment as gourmet temples (which now have to cope with a crisis that can reduce the demand for such products), in which the concern for local food was not the central issue (altough local products are promoted).

san miguel-3

The Mercado de San Miguel is a building from 1916 with an iron structure, near the Plaza Mayor, which is developed on a single level. There is no large central space, as stalls are arranged along corridors, but the glass façades give a good view from the street of all things yummy to a steady flow of tourists visiting central Madrid.

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado de San Miguel

The Mercado de San Anton was rebuilt, adopting a quite different approach: it is a multilevel market, with a floor allocated to food sales and the next ones used by theme restaurants around a central multilevel open space. If you visit, some of the most scenic are on the upper terrace, with views (albeit limited) over the Chueca roofs.

The gate to San Antón

The gate to San Antón

San Antón 2

The food sales floor, closed as the photo was taken out of the sales times

The food sales floor, closed as the photo was taken out of the sales times

The restaurants level at San Antón

The restaurants level at San Antón

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