Touristification, transnational gentrification and urban change in Lisbon: The neighbourhood of Alfama

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Abstract

The Great Recession (2008–2014) and the consequent crises in both the national financial and production systems have led the Portuguese administration to adopt tourism and urban rehabilitation as new pivotal sectors to overcome the critical crisis-derived impacts on the economy and society. Moreover, both national and local administrations have deployed a range of legislative initiatives to attract transnational real estate investment and new high-income residents to the country, including generous tax benefits and residency permits for large foreign investors. This is of greater relevance in the historic neighbourhoods of Lisbon city centre, as in the case of Alfama, which has recently been transformed into one of the most important urban hotspots in the country for both local and transnational real estate investors. By focusing on this historic quarter of Lisbon, this paper examines how processes of gentrification and studentification occurring in the area since the late 1990s and early 2000s have been disrupted by recent processes of touristification and Airbnbisation in Alfama, transforming the entire neighbourhood into an ‘outdoor hotel’. The paper concludes by suggesting that, while urban touristification appears today as a new reproduction mechanism of glocal financial capital, the Airbnbisation of former lower-class central urban areas of post-recession southern European cities emerges as the newest, most aggressive form of urban accumulation by dispossession and spatial displacement against the working and middle-lower classes (both locals and migrants) of the ‘tourist city’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalUrban Studies
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Class
  • Displacement
  • Gentrification
  • Housing
  • Neighbourhood
  • Theory

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