Format Market

City Berlin, Germany

ZK/U Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik – Once a month in summer (from May till October) the Gütermarkt takes place. It is not only a flea-market, but a community meeting point combining second-hand sale with local handcrafted items and repair-spots for e.g. bikes, electrical devices, wood and services such as tailoring or hair-dressing. Furthermore it is a platform where the neighbourhood gathers for a atmospheric Sunday on the terrace of ZK/U or in the surrounding park.

It all started with a research project called Moabiter Mix that was looking at the Moabit neighborhood of Berlin. We were looking for ways to keep a mixture between groups including different social classes, ethnicities, youth, migrants, and workers. Peoples’ use of space and their behaviours in public space were in danger of being simplified as a consequence of gentrification. Things were becoming less interesting and people were becoming segregated.

We wanted to make a community market to help maintain neighbourhood diversity. A place for encounters that wouldn’t otherwise take place. Where a school teacher meets a small business owner. We were partnering with the ZK/U Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik. ZK/U mainly has both a local and international artist public. We were also looking for a way to connect with other types of publics in the Moabit neighbourhood.

The directors of the ZK/U Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik said our market has their most diverse range of attendees. For example, a refugee that does not speak German talks with a hipster artist from Norway who is in the ZK/U residency program. This doesn’t happen anywhere else in Moabit. Also people in the neighbourhood know about the market now. It took three years for people to get to know it. Before we had to chase people to come. Now we get a lot of people coming to us.

Location Finding a location with existing infrastructure

We used the existing hall of the cultural center 'ZK/U', which allowed us to use the electricity, toilets and provided us with a communcal kitchen. The market can also be outdoors, if the stands have a roof.

Things you need People Power

The organizing team consists of a coordinator and an assistant. They are planning the event. On the day of the event, an additional technician/ helper is required to set up the stages and of course, last but not least the vendors make the experience unique. At the Gütermarkt a broad variety of vendors are involved. The local craftsman selling handmade lamps, a hairdresser, a repair-service for electrical devices and a local tailor.

Production Equipment

Toilets, energy-spots, market-stands eg. custom built with a roof when outside, chairs, a list of participants, a stage with a sound system, if there should be music, a cash box and some change.

Funding Different sources - different focus

Look for local funding, that helps the community and neighbourhood grow together. Look for regional educational fonds and similar international projects or networks can join in EU Funding opportunities. The aim though is to make the market self-funded by selling food and drinks and the income from renting out the stands.

Communication Right balance of different media

Make sure, that your digital and anlog communication is well balanced and targets particular communities. An own website helps, but programming means additional time and resources. Use existing communication channels especially when it comes to a neigborhood level (local newspaper, distribution infrastructure, media)

Official / Legal Official / Legal Matters

If the vendors sell fresh food, they need a food licence, showing that they stick to health regulations. Also when using an open air location, eg. a street or parking space an official permit is required. Nevertheless - explore the grey-zones…

There are many skilful people in Moabit that have been left behind in the process of deindustrialisation. We wanted to give them a stage.

Gütermarkt Community Market