Amongst key ingredients that I have learned from traditional markets, one is visibility. People are attracted to visible activities. For markets, whether it’s the more vernacular markets in a building or a night market on a street, it’s the hung clothes and plastic bags, the tied tarps, the chaotic signboards, and people coming in and out that become the visual cues. They are hints of activeness, and activities are strongly associated with markets.
Example A: Pasar Besar Kedai Payang, Terengganu
Example B: Pekan Rabu, Kedah
Example C: Pasar P8, Putrajaya
(Source: my own field work, August 2010)
I found that external visibility is common amongst most market places in Malaysia, with the exception of Pasar Siti Khadijah in Kelantan. Pasar Siti Khadijah has a rather mundane and unactive external presence. However, its lack of external presence is compensated by such amazing and captivating interior activeness that give such breathtaking scenery of a market.
Example D: Pasar Besar Siti Khadijah, Kelantan
Unless market buildings can create this kind of awe-factor inside, their activities should generally be visible from the outside.