The reactivation of the Central Market, Paramaribo

The reactivation of the Central Market, Paramaribo

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Analysis and exploration of potential future scenarios through participatory action research

This thesis frames within the master studio ISTT, Interdisciplinary Studio for Territories in Transition, focusing on contemporary challenges within a postcolonial non-Western context. The research was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of 3 students from architecture, urbanism and spatial planning as well as heritage. The research focuses on the Central Market in Paramaribo, Suriname, a vibrant location that operates day and night and acts as a distribution centre. However, visitors and vendors are declining. The thesis analyses the situation, conducts design research and proposes future scenarios to raise awareness and discussion.

De Waterkant, where the Central Market is located, is an important location in the city. However, it has experienced negative developments resulting in vacancy and degradation, and a decrease in activity in the evening hours. Recent initiatives are trying to bring new life to this area. However, the Central Market is always disregarded and not integrated into these new plans.

The Central Market is now in a phase of uncertainty. With the rise of alternative purchasing options such as shopping malls and street vending, the question arises as to whether the market is still relevant. This issue raises a variety of opinions. Some see the market as historically and culturally valuable, while others doubt its usefulness and even consider demolition.

Current challenges force us to consider possible future scenarios for the Central Market. This design study focuses on preserving the Central Market and its current operation. The scenarios and proposals developed are not ready-made solutions. They offer a perspective on what may or may not be possible in hopes of sparking debate around the Central Market. The issues that emerged from participatory research and are discussed are the market’s occupancy rate, overview and light and air.

The results show that there is no universal solution that does justice to the multifaceted nature of the Central Market issue. The proposed future scenarios sometimes work contradictory and highlight the complexity of the issue toward the future of the market. Each proposed scenario brings benefits but also challenges. This design study hopes to be a first step in stimulating debate about the future of the Central Market.

  • Authors:
    • Lobke Van den Eeden

    • Frederik Vandyck (Promotor)
    • Nathan De Feyter (Promotor)
    • Marciano Dasai (Promotor)
  • Period:
    • 2022 — 2023  

    • Architecture

    • Master thesis

    • Antom De Kom Universiteit van Suriname