I recently had an amazing walk around the Old Market Hall in Bratislava, on a research trip into community regeneration. A local community group took over the building around 5 years ago.
The huge hall is set up every Saturday as an indoor market, and is a great example of how to do this right.
8 ft wide market stalls are pitched in orderly rows across the ground floor, selling everything from local produce through to beer and wine! There are arts stalls, jewellery makers and fresh baker’s.
I think my favourite bit was the Global Village, where residents from different nationalities had their own stands where they introduce locals to their traditions. There were Brazilians, Russians, Sri Lankans and Albanians, amongst others. A great idea, that was generating huge amounts of interest from locals. There was no commercial purpose to this part of the site – nothing was on sale – it was just sharing cultures – love it.
There was also a brilliant community cafe, which celebrates the cooking of different nationalities who are living in Slovakia.
And the best part – kids and dogs are very welcome. Our four legged friends were everywhere and having as good a time as the adults. And the kids were very well provided for with entertainment (a clown and live music), small play area and the simplest of kids entertainment – a huge chalk board!!
I love visiting places like this when I’m travelling, it provides inspiration for my regeneration projects in the UK, and further cements my vision and passion that social community projects can, and will, thrive if we show the way.
Check out their website at http://staratrznica.sk/eng/
Social Vision flew to Bratislava from Leeds Bradford courtesy of Ryanair http://www.ryanair.com