Introduction and start
The market area of Yene is an example of uninformed development aid. Currently it is underutilised and unattractive. However, with the growth of Yene it has great potential to become a true central market: a lively place filled with commercial and social activity. The future is now, so let’s start placemaking…
Around ten years ago international funding was given to the Senegalese government to create and improve market places. In some towns the right location was chosen and the design met local demands. These markets are succesful. But much too often the new buildings were never used or have been abandoned. If the market already existed as place it often continued as before but now around an empty building or just in front along the road.
In Yene the outcome is mixed. There was already an old market building being actively used. Next to it rows of small shops were added and a surrounding wall was built to create a large market area. At the moment only the old main building is in use. All the small shops are closed and the market area is completely empty. As a whole it looks impoverished and uninviting. Taking a long-term perspective there is a lot of dormant potential to accommodate future growth. The surrounding wall offers possibilities that can already be put to use right now. By doing this the current users of the market can create an appealing atmosphere and a sense of opportunity.
Every morning around thirty women sell the main supplies for Senegalese cooking in the main building. While spending time to understand daily activities and dynamics we get to know the women one by one and collect their ideas to improve the market area.
We put many of these ideas together in a realistic plan that can be achieved step by step over five years time. For now we start with step one, based on the frequently heard wish of having trees and small agriculture. We present the first designs in a group meeting and get good response and useful feedback. We also propose to improve the visibility of the market from the main road by painting the entrance and making a sign by the road. This will be designed together.
The days after the presentation we discuss details and everyone chooses their prefered tree and crop. Each woman will be responsible for her own circle. We will supply the tools and materials and make the circles with them. The small trees will be bought at different orchards and given for free. We will buy large packets of high quality crop seeds and sell small amounts to the women for affordable prices.
and empty shops (left)
the large local sardines called 'jabouye' are processed into a minced meat
with her vegetables and onion cutter
All set for the first day of 'real' work at the market