How to preserve and expand a flea markets values?

These are questions the group behind the project and report Urban Cultures: Case Kommersen is considering in the new project Kommersen 2.0 - A cultural impact assessment. Kommersen is a flea market in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The report revealed that the building Kommersen and the activities that takes place there have many so-called densified cultural values. Some examples are cultural-historical, cultural, social, economic, and aesthetic values. These actively contribute to creating a city that is for everyone, involve people, to making the city vibrant and facilitating a sustainable lifestyle.

The area around Kommersen is facing major changes. One of the changes that will occur is that a large number of temporary student housing in the form of barracks are going to be built on a large parking lot near Kommersen. The new project will provide input to the planning process on how the flea markets values could be maintained or even expanded at a number of possible scenarios. Some of the scenarios include allowing the building to remain unaltered, demolishing and rebuilding it at the same spot or moving Kommersen to a new area.

The project group sees this as an exciting opportunity, to be able to continue to study the role of culture in urban development and the concept of cultural densification. Literature reviews, interviews, participatory observations, hearings and photo documentation will be conducted. Curators will be involved as experts and the results will be presented in an illustrative report.

The project is a collaboration between the Gothenburg City Museum and the Centre for Consumer Science at the University of Gothenburg. The work will be carried out from November 2013 to February 2014. The building company Riksbyggen and the municpial company responsible for the River City development, Älvstranden utveckling AB is funding the project.

About the flea market Kommersen

Kommersen is a flea market located Norra Masthugget in Gothenburg, an area that is undergoing major changes and is a part of the River City development. The flea market opened in 2000 and is a meeting place where different cultures are complexly stored. It is a place for commerce and economic exchange which supports the local economy. It provides access to cheap goods and the reuse of products supports environmentally conscious actions. Likewise, it acts as an anchor in the city by being a reminder of the history and its timber industry heritage. It is also a cultural attraction with graffiti covering the outside walls. Kommersen as a phenomenon is close to the ideal of an exciting and sustainable urban life as described in the City Planning Authority´s program. Flea markets in general often have an important role to play in shaping new sustainable cultures.

Questions? Please contact:
Ylva Bergstrand, Gothenburg City Museum 
Helene Brembeck, Centre for Consumer Science at the University of Gothenburg,

Read more about the project Urban Cultures: Case Kommersen