The Naschmarkt, which was a typical food market since the early Nineteen Century, is now a 1,5 kilometers strip divided in the food trade sector and in the gastronomical sector. The gastronomy is very successful as it benefits from the Naschmarkt renown and its central position. Whereas the food market is strangled by many factors - as the competition with other markets in the city, with food chains and supermarkets, and by the dominance in the market of two main families - and it is slowly economically and socially declining.
The main reason of the crisis of the food market is a lack of unitary vision by the City Council, the Neighborhood Council (Mariahilf), the Chamber of Commerce and the Marktamt (market management office) that are missing the opportunity to encompass together the sustainability of the most important market of Vienna.
Moreover, the Naschmarkt will undergo from September 2010 a 5-years infrastructural renewal (repaving, light, water and electricity system, etc.), which - if the process will not be transparent and call for the active cooperation of the market workers - will certainly put at stake the future of the market and its vitality.
In the perception of the small market vendors - deprived from a plan which should embrace a synergic interaction between the infrastructural reorganization of the market and a more clear political, economical and cultural strategy - their position will consequently be economically unfeasible. Big investors will take over and by doing so the process of gentrification and commercialization already in progress in the market will be complete.
Another immediate effect is that the gastronomy sector, whose success lies on the existence of the market itself, will be even more dominant. However, without the fundamental characterization of the presence of the food sellers, the entire nature of the market will be perverted and consequently also the bars and restaurants might be at risk.
Market Academy Naschmarkt emerges from the concern of how can the market regenerate itself. How can the Naschmarkt regenerate its fragile economic condition, while investing on its real asset: the unique cultural and social importance for Vienna? How can the Naschmarkt overcome the challenge of undergoing a process of “commercialization”, of “gentrification”, of “monumentalization”, of “gerontologization”, of “authenticization” ?
Those questions shifted our attention from the market itself to the potential of a fragile transition the market is now undergoing and which allows us to reconsider what a market can be and become.
It is thus clear that the Naschmarkt demands for a transformation in order to survive. A radical change needs a cultural revolution that springs and develops from inside the market, from the market’s people, who are the “experts” of a market in transition. It requires a collective effort that entitles them to create the conditions for a transformation, which empowers them to redefine a market system and new parameters of sustainability.