Tourism Gentrification

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This article intent is to analyse the recent phenomenon of tourism gentrification in the city of Lisbon, Portugal. This reality has been affecting some European cities and, in recent years, has gradually become more present in Lisbon's historic neighbourhoods. Gentrification is a phenomenon that has been identified more than half a century ago. This denomination arose in 1964, when sociologist Ruth Glass, while analysing some of London's neighbourhoods, identified an influx of a population segment, descendants of the rural aristocracy, who bought and renovated old buildings. Although initially this has been almost exclusively a social phenomenon, it has recently included the physical transformation of certain areas through its urban rehabilitation. This phenomenon has therefore undergone an evolution, and although it retains many identical social characteristics, it has, nowadays, different contours in some cases. This is the case of tourism gentrification. Lisbon has progressively been receiving more and more tourists, and the sought for accommodation has been increasingly diversified, requiring a market's adaptation in order to respond to this reality. As a result of this demand, there is an increase in the offer of local lodging in the city of Lisbon. This type of accommodation presents its very own challenges, assuming clear advantages and disadvantages for both the neighbourhoods and cities. Gentrification can be seen as one of its disadvantages. A study carried out in Portugal in 2016 regarding the Lisbon region revealed that, before being converted into local lodging establishments, 59% of the properties were vacant. Although this is a significant value, it also indicates that about 40% of the remaining properties were destined for housing, thus suggesting a significant loss of local population, in favour of tourist occupation. This implies a loss of the neighbourhood's identity leading to the loss of their characteristics, also devaluing them at a cultural level. Such condition may even become detrimental to tourism itself, since tourists who usually look for local lodging seek an immersive experience, meaning they want to live like the locals. Local lodging has strengthened the tourism sector by generating significant revenues and has also boosted rehabilitation works in the city of Lisbon. However, it is necessary to define specific regulations, in order to keep the residents in their historic neighbourhoods, while making sure the local tourist carrying capacity is not exceeded. Local lodging can generate important benefits for cities, but it is necessary to ensure that the negative externalities generated are minimalized. This article is intended as a contribution to the discussion of the consequences of tourism gentrification, but also of the possible strategies that the city of Lisbon could implement, in the future, in order to minimize its disadvantages.

Original languageEnglish
Article number092025
JournalIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2019
Event3rd World Multidisciplinary Civil Engineering, Architecture, Urban Planning Symposium, WMCAUS 2018 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 18 Jun 201822 Jun 2018


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