Access to meat for every citizen? Market deregulation and butcher settlement patterns in Brussels, 1816-1866

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a workshop/seminar

Description

Seeking to improve the standard of living of poverty-stricken inhabitants, mid-nineteenth-century Brussels urban authorities sought to combat citizens’ unequal access to fresh meat, a luxury for many and increasingly perceived as the source of energy crucial to sustaining citizens, their labour, the urban economy and the city itself. To establish this more sustainable consumption, economy and city, they firmly turned toward a freer and more deregulated market. Abandoning centuries restricted sales in municipal meat halls in the city centre, meat sales were now allowed from butchers’ homes. This was expected to convince new butchers to settle in the city in a dispersed manner, spreading meat retail and accessibility across the city. This paper seeks to assess the degree to which deregulation and the free market was successful in spatially reshaping butchers’ locational retail patterns and boosting access to meat. Using a Geographical Information System analysis, it explores Brussels butcher settlement patterns in the first half of the nineteenth century. While dispersal did occur, deregulation served as a catalyst rather than a cause, revealing it was by itself insufficient to establish the sustainable city authorities aspired to.
Period27 May 2021
Event titleVUB Phd Day 2021: Global Challenges translated into Local and Research Projects at VUB
Event typeConference
Conference number4
Locationonline via HOPIN, Belgium