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Queen’s Market ‘up to 40% more ethnically integrated’ than the rest of London

PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:54 12 February 2019

Queens Market, Green Street, Upton Park.

Queens Market, Green Street, Upton Park.

Archant

Queen’s Market is up to 40per cent more ethnically integrated than the rest of London, according to a new thesis.

Friends of Queen's Market is a grass-roots community organsiation that discusses 'threats and improvements' to the market. Picture: Firends of Queen's Market.Friends of Queen's Market is a grass-roots community organsiation that discusses 'threats and improvements' to the market. Picture: Firends of Queen's Market.

A thesis by Meg Bartholomew, an Australian working in urban strategy, studied how public space can bring together people from different ethnic, social and economic backgrounds.

The paper has since been recommended for publication, though in a revised form.

While London is one of the most diverse cities on Earth, there are indications that it is slightly less integrated than the rest of the UK.

Meg, a London School of Economics master’s student, said: “I have lived and worked in many different cultures and I feel strongly that the empathy for others from different backgrounds is declining in our cities.

Queens Market, Green Street, Upton Park.Queens Market, Green Street, Upton Park.

“Any space that has the potential to bring people together and break down barriers should have that value recognised.”

She found that up to 9,000 people per day are positively impacted by the market, adding that this could be more with greater support.

Meg argued regularly visited public spaces could be co-opted to encourage ‘new social networks, offer shared identities and support common outcomes leading to social cohesion.’

The paper also found that the market is worth as much as the land it sits on.

It said the social value of the market needs to be better understood and quantified to compete with ‘dazzling’ land valuations from developers.

Sasha Laurel, chair of friends of Queen’s Market, said: “It’s good to be reminded how many shoppers rely on the market.

“It’s not just about bargain prices for fruit and veg: it brings the different communities together.”

Speaking about her experience at the market, Meg said: “The great things were hearing people’s stories, like Sunny Landa, the radio host who also runs a stall in the market only because that is what he has always wanted to do since he was a kid back in India.

“Or the guys from Uncle Raph’s fruit and veg who took over their uncle’s stall and have a brilliant Instagam site, or the traders that have been there for three or four generations.”

Meg has since returned to Australia, but says she hopes to be back soon.

“No one can believe I want to swap beaches for bad weather — only there really is something about London — I’d love to come back.”

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