UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Value struggles in the foundational economy

19 October 2023, 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

Young people at a protest holding a megaphone

Join us for a Director's Seminar with Sara Gonzalez and Myfanwy Taylor from University of Leeds.

Event Information

Open to





UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Room tbc
Gower Street
United Kingdom

About this event

Value struggles in the foundational economy: traditional retail markets as commercial property, regeneration opportunity or key provisioning sites?

The 3.5 year Markets4People research project aimed to understand and enhance the community value of traditional retail markets in the UK. This was a collaborative and policy-oriented research project, through which we worked not only to produce new understandings of the value of markets but also to advance new propositions, generate practical resources and drive debate with policy makers and practitioners.

This talk will explore some of the project’s implications for retail geography, foundational economies and urban research. We firstly resist the framing of marketplaces as marginal, backward and declining, and make the case for a renewed retail geography in which marginal retail spaces and practices are re-centred and re-valued via feminist, postcolonial and collaborative approaches. We then explore how such a retail geography might play a role in constructing new ‘regimes of value’ about formerly marginalised retail spaces, drawing on understandings of value as social, contingent and contested. Finally, we explore how and why different regimes of value about marginalised retail spaces become dominant in different places, and what this means for the possibilities for more socially-just and inclusive urban and retail policy agendas.

About the speakers

Sara Gonzalez is a Professor in Human Critical Geography at the School of Geography, University of Leeds. Her work analyses urban injustices and their contestation. Her latest research has focused on understanding and measuring the community value of traditional food markets in the UK, applying ideas of community wealth-building and foundational economies. She is also Associate Director at the Global Food and Environment Institute, jointly coordinating the Urban Food Systems theme. She is interested in participatory research for radically fairer cities.

Myfanwy Taylor is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at University College London’s Bartlett School of Planning. Her work brings new economic thinking and collaborative approaches to urban studies in order to open up understandings of urban economies and politics. Her PhD research explored struggles against commercial displacement in London, using diverse and community economies research to explore their potential to produce new economic possibilities. Between 2018 and 2021, she was the lead researcher on the ESRC-funded Markets4People project, a collaboration between academic researchers, the National Market Traders Federation and the New Economics Foundation. Her current research explores economic democracy in local economic development and planning. Myfanwy is also a Director of the Wards Corner Community Benefit Society in Tottenham, north east London.


About this event series

Cultural Spaces for Democratic Participation, Political Expression and Shared Prosperity

This Director’s Seminars and Soundbites series explores how citizens mobilize new physical and digital channels of political participation, and what can be done to create and adapt these cultural spaces so as they make positive impact on democratic life in the 21st Century.

The Director's Seminars are an opportunity for audiences to get an in-depth theoretical perspective on sustainable and inclusive prosperity. These Seminars are given by academics who are pushing for new ways of thinking and new ways of researching society's grand challenges.

For more events in this series visit the series page ►