For decades, Paramaribo's Central Market played an important role in providing a livelihood for farmers and artisans from inside and outside the city. Its central location (next to a major bus terminal) and spectacular architecture (the original market hall was designed by Dutch architect Peter Nagel, who designed numerous modernist facilities in Paramaribo) helped determine its important function within the city.
Despite, the Central Market in Paramaribo is attracting less and less visitors for several years. Next to that, also the vendors are becoming less numerous. Today we see many market vendors nestled around the market buildings and in the streets leading to them, leaving many interior tables and stalls empty. These informal stalls partially "hide" the entrances and exits, giving them a very closed character and thus little attraction for passersby to walk in. Or does the negative publicity about operating pickpockets play a role?
In addition to the out-sprawl of the market, new market places are arising along Paramaribo's arterial roads and in suburban residential neighbourhoods, which might amplify the vacancy problem. These new markets, often little more than rudimentary canopies, emerge in places with easy access by car and convenient parking. Besides the 'new' markets, supermarkets and shopping malls around the city, where shopping can be done in a refrigerated and hygienic environment, are also likely to draw customers away from the market.
Explanations are sought in the increase in car ownership and the growing urban sprawl around the capital. As a result, more and more residents are leaving downtown and public bus service is being used less. Meanwhile, the government is already thinking of repurposing the buildings as a cruise terminal or as a landing for a new ferry between Paramaribo and Meerzorg.
In this master thesis research, together with the community of market vendors, visitors and actors from the market neighbourhood, we will search for what exactly is going on with the Central Market and which renewal projects, processes and (partial) repurposing could be interesting. Attention will also be paid to making the historical inner city of Paramaribo attractive again as a mixed city of living, working, shopping and recreation.