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Mapping the impact of tourism in urban heritage


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The Costa del Sol is one of the main mass tourism destinations throughout the Mediterranean coast.
The city of Malaga has stayed unconnected to this sector until recently, when different policies have
been applied in order to take advantage of its situation as the main arrival point for visitors travelling to
Andalusia. In just a decade the town has turned itself into a major cruise tourism destination and it has
been subject of a complete renovation to display the sort of heritage that visitors expect to see. This
process has led to the creation of wide monofunctional sectors, gentrification and theming of the
tourist-historic city while most of the rest of the Historic Site areas and their patrimonial objects remain
neglected. This paper focuses on the work that several civil organizations are currently carrying out to
analyze these consequences and propose alternatives by combining academic research and
participatory cartography.

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Mapping the impact of tourism in urban heritage

  1. 1. MAPPING THE IMPACT OF TOURISM IN URBAN HERITAGE Daniel BARRERA FERNANDEZ Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning, High Technical School of Architecture, University of Seville, Seville, Spain AbstractThe Costa del Sol is one of the main mass tourism destinations throughout the Mediterranean coast.The city of Malaga has stayed unconnected to this sector until recently, when different policies havebeen applied in order to take advantage of its situation as the main arrival point for visitors travelling toAndalusia. In just a decade the town has turned itself into a major cruise tourism destination and it hasbeen subject of a complete renovation to display the sort of heritage that visitors expect to see. Thisprocess has led to the creation of wide monofunctional sectors, gentrification and theming of thetourist-historic city while most of the rest of the Historic Site areas and their patrimonial objects remainneglected. This paper focuses on the work that several civil organizations are currently carrying out toanalyze these consequences and propose alternatives by combining academic research andparticipatory cartography.Keywords: cartography, heritage, participation, theming, web 1. IntroductionMalaga is the administrative capital of the Costa del Sol, however, it has remained out of the masstourism sector until the last decade, when several actions have been taken to adapt its Historic SiteAreas to an urban tourism destination. This process considers interventions like numerous museumopenings, associate land-uses implantation, the creation of pedestrian zones, the remodelling of theport, interventions in built heritage or the cultural policies that have focused on trying to achieve thetitle of The European Capital of the Culture, among others. The present work studies the context thattakes place, the reasons, the agents, the different instruments that are applied and the functioning ofthe process. Consequences related to heritage preservation are going to be focused on and civilmovements studying the processes and proposing alternatives are going to be specially considered. 1.1 Tourist adequacy of the historic city, the case of MalagaThe town has consolidated itself as the main arrival point in the Costa del Sol, especially thanks to theairport that is immersed in an important extension. The city has turned itself into a major hub fortourists travelling throughout Andalusia due improvements in infrastructure, in particular highways andtrains, with special attention to high speed trains. This provides a significant opportunity for the city toattract a larger proportion of visitors than had been possible in the past.On the other hand, the presence of Sun and Sand tourism is very little in this city, due principally to thecomplete urbanization of the coastline. Coinciding with the obsolescence of the port facilities, the cityhas found an opportunity in cruise tourism, becoming the second largest Spanish destination in thissector just behind Barcelona. Cruise passengers are experiencing an important increase and have adifferent profile than other visitors, their principal feature is to dedicate only a few hours to visiting theirdestination, so it becomes necessary to concentrate the attractions and the auxiliary activities in a verylimited tour. Because of that, resources presented to the tourists are a few group of monuments andspaces concerning Picassos figure or establishing a thematic or proximity connection.Diverse agents, resources and policies are involved in developing the new urban tourism destination.Among the agents it is possible to find public administrations and private entities from different levels:municipal, regional, state and European. The agents are in charge of the different plans, programs,projects, actions and instruments that are globally included in policies. These include culture and 1
  2. 2. heritage, tourism, urbanism and regional planning. Only the European policies directly related to thetransformations that have been carried out in the city are going to be mentioned.In cultural matter stands out the European Capital of Cuture action. It has its origin in MélinaMercouris initiative to the Council of the European Union in June 1985. The current phase is born ofthe 1419/1999/CE Decision of the European Parliament, modified by the 1622/2006/CE Decision ofthe European Parliament and of the Council of the European Union. A great number of cities aim to benamed European Capital of Culture due to its media repercussion, the development of culture andtourism and the recognition on part of the inhabitants of the importance of the designation of their city.Malaga tried to be designated in 2016, but finally it was rejected last September.In urban development subject, the European Territorial Strategy refers to the cities attractive fortourism development but it also warns of the danger that supposes mass tourism, culturalcommercialization and uniformity that destroy the individuality and the identity of cities, landspeculation or oversized infrastructures projects in relation to the environment. 1.2 Common features of applied policiesFrom the analysis of the different policies that are applied three common aspects can bedistinguished, such as patrimonial selection, the relation between urban local marketing and urbantourism and the widespread presence of the Beaubourg effect, they are going to be explained briefly.Regarding the patrimonial selection, the attention is focused in some objects and others aredismissed. Thus, in the last five years period it has increased considerably the number of thoseelements that have been given the maximum protection and the investments center principally inthose who have been declared Monument and that suppose a tourist attraction. On the other hand,substitution, degradation or demolition are common in the rest of cultural heritage, even in the case ofjuridically protected ones: i.e. interior emptying, plot addition, extension of the façadism phenomenon,complete historic streets and blocks occupation, demolitions of protected buildings, construction of carparks in zones with great presence of archaeological remains and insertion of volumes that break withthe historic configuration of the city.Related to the urban local marketing, the presence of monumental heritage, to be an attractive toursitdestination and the cultural character are taken as an advantage and are promoted by the strategiesof urban marketing since they help to create a more competitive city in attracting investments. Bythese means it is explained the sense of a series of projects of great media impact that are not clearlytourist and much less suppose a cultural improvement for the residents, though they are related toboth. The symbolic spaces of the historic city are used as advertising support of these expositions andshelter the architectures, settings and events that can transmit this message in a clearer way.And finally, the Beaubourg effect, called this way in reference to the impact that had the opening of theCentre Pompidou in Paris Beaubourgs neighbourhood. In Spain it is known as Guggenheim effectdue to the similar scope that had the inauguration of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. It is commonto call internationally known architects for developing these projects and the result is usually anaesthetically interesting intervention, often hiding the destroy of the patrimonial values that theyinvolve. These projects are justified in a supposed renewing capacity of degraded zones. TheBeaboug effect has impregnated the orientation of public policies and is visible in all areas likemuseums, hotels, public spaces, housing, infrastructures and others.Fig. 1: Port renovation to allow a major cruise tourism destination.2
  3. 3. 1.3 ThemingPublic policies and creation of tourist resources are leading to a series of consequences in the historiccity that have been included in theming, this can be related to heritage, residents, land-uses andcultural integrity.Heritage theming supposes fixing the attention in the objects that more enriche the tourist visit,normally those of more eye-catching character like painted façades or archaeological remains. It hasalso an omnipresent immaterial connotation, such as the association of Malaga with Picasso. Heritagetheming carries in some cases historic simplification because only a few periods are selected, it iscommon to abuse of restorations or even recreations and other types of heritage tend to be excludedsuch as industrial or port heritage. Moreover, an aesthetic standarized criterion is assumed in urbanrenovations, known as beautification, that provokes urban spaces to be designed in order to pleasetourist preconceptions instead of their adequacy to the city’s patrimonial values.Residential theming means the population emptying and its substitution for persons with majorrevenue, known as gentrification. The economic capacity selection has joined one that focuses on theway of life or profession. In this way, projects of public initiative destined to craftsmen and youngcultural workers are in course of approval.Land-uses theming refers to activities substitution and to the creation of wide monofunctional sectors,where intervenes the proliferation of primary resources, fundamentally museums and associateactivities. Outstanding is the implantation of great capacity hotels often without taking intoconsideration the surroundings where they are located and restaurants and gifts shops that tend tooccupy all the commercial areas and even the public streetsRegarding museums, there are about tobe 29 of them in the Historic Site. Two in special: the Picasso Museum and the Thyssen Museum,have created authentic neighborhoods-museums on having included several buildings, blocks andstreets.Cultural integrity theming is related to the exaltation of some cultural manifestations in the historic cityand the creation of a great amount of new ones. Among them stands the Spanish Cinema Festivaldue to its media impact. This process also implies actors creation as an extra attraction, some of themare based on traditional professions such as biznagueros and almonds sellers.Fig. 2: Restoration of painted façades as a main tourist attraction. 3
  4. 4. 2. Mapping the process. CartacThe Cartac (Tactical Cartographies) group has been analyzing different situations and consequencesduring several years thanks to participatory cartographies. The group is working in the world of mapsand in the field of social research. The aim is to take advantage from the possibility that maps have totransmit social denounce and the oportunity that they offer to reveal conflicts related to heritage.The group explores the possibilities that cartography offers as a transfroming tool of the territory wherepeople live. Cartac considers territory not only as a geographical space but also as a habitatcomposed by multiple lyers (social, cultural, economic, artistic, ecological, political...) Cartography isunderstood not only as a representation technology, but also in a way that anyone could be acartographer and so take part actively in the construction of their territory. Thus, it is proposed aninstrument to the service of the citizenship to visualize conflicts and to generate changes in order tohelp to solve the denounced situations. 2.1 First project: What Maps Don’t ShowAmong the diversity of maps that can be produced, conflict maps represent (through images, icons,texts, etcetera) problematic situations that are normally hidden on purpose. The steps that arefollowed to design a conflict map are:- Diagnosis phase: information extraction (through site-based work, interviews, discussion groups,documents analysis).- Cartographic production phase: transmission of information to a map in digital format, paper, video,etcetera (through icons, colors).- Return phase: acknowledgement of conflicts studying their iterconnections (through debates andworkshops).Following the explained methodology, Cartac organised the workshop called What Maps Don’t Show.Construction of participatory cartographies with wikimaps, in collaboration with the InternationalUniversity of Andalusia. For this purpose, participants walked along the streets of the Historic Site ofMalaga with a descriptive and analytical gaze, to document through photography, video and texts thedifferent situations lately reflected in the wikimap created during the workshop.In this case the aspects considered were heritage conservation, tourism, commerce, housing, mobility,economy and urban spaces, among others. The map created was used to show the great widespreadexistence of patrimonial objects in ruins and urban voids.In the transfer of information phase it was used an open code IT tool called Meipi. A meipi can bedefined as a participatory space where users can put information on a map, this can refer to a place orto a topic. The maps so created can be useful for collaborative dynamics, workshops, associations,companies, groups of friends and artistic actions since users can directly link multimedia files(photography, video or sound) with an exact place of the city and share the personal opinions of thedifferent users.Fig. 3: Meipi: What Maps Don’t Show. Categories view.4
  5. 5. All meipis possess a title and an own Internet address and begin with a description. They are orderedby categories and inside them different entries are created. Each one refers to a place in the space,has a textual description and photographs or other multimedia files. A great advantage of meipi is thatall authorized persons can edit the entries and any user can leave a comment. The running is similarto a blog. Entries are provided with tags, that allow a faster search when the complexity increases andthe establishment of horizontal groups between entries of different categories.All the information contained in a meipi can be visualized in four different views: map, list, categories,mosaic.- Map: the uploaded entries are shown with a geographical reference.- List: the entries are ordered by the date when they were created. They can also be ordered by votes.- Categories: the last entries from each category are shown in columns.- Mosaic: the uploaded images are organized by the user, creating mosaics that can be saved. 2.2 Second project: MalagaturismoAnother relevant work done in collaboration with the University of Seville is going to be explained. Thepurpose was to identify those elements that show the functional transformations of the historic city toadapt it to a urban tourism destination.The working process was divided in preparatory phase, capture of information, transfer of information,presentation and extraction of conclusions. In the phase of capture of information a tour across thestreets and public spaces was done, writing down every element’s location, name and references.Activities carried out in protected patrimonial buildings and spaces were distinguished.In this case, four categories were created, and each of the elements was registered as an entry.Capture and transfer of information process have been systematized and entries have always thesame structure. Tags are used as a descriptor of entries from different categories. 404 entries weremade in total, constituting nowadays the second work of this type as for number of elements.Entries work like files and follow this structure: - Name of the element. - Category. Basic classification. - Tag. It is useful to create subgroups and distinguish common features of elements belonging todifferent categories. - Photography of the element. - Small description. - Urban protection (if there is any). If the plot is included in the Historic Site limits or in the area of theCity Center’s Protection Plan. - Conservation Area. If the plot is located in a protected surrounding of a Site included in theAndalusian Heritage Inventory.- Architectural protection. It specifies the typology and the architectural degree of protection (if there isany), according to the Local Heritage Inventory or the Andalusian one. - Other comments. Particular features related to the conservation, author, etcetera.Fig. 4: Meipi: Malagaturismo. Front page. 5
  6. 6. In the phase of presentation of information different plans were disagned depending on the differentelements and conclusions. The resultant information has been divided into hotels, commerce andrestaurants, mobility, information in pedestrian routes, urban scene, safety, waste management andPicasso references.A) Hotels. Classified into three groups depending on their category. A total of 42 establishments havebeen studied in the Historic Site, with distinction of the ones that take part of buildings with legalprotection. Hotels’ establishment, specially for great capacity ones, is usually being carried withoutrespecting the architectural or urban values of the spaces where they are built. One of the mostdramatic case is the hotel projected for the area known as Hoyo de Esparteros, that would entail theoccupation of a historic street, the addition of several plots and blocks, the demolition of a protectedbuilding, to double the maximum height of the zone and to build an underground four storey-car parkin an area with a great presence of archaeological remains.B) Commerce and restaurants. Divided into three groups: gifts shops, tourist restaurants andtraditional shops adapted to the tourist use. The third group is the one for neighbourhoodestablishments that offer products consumed by the local population as well as products mainly forvisitors. This category gives an idea of the expansion zones which implies the tourist movement. Incase of the hotels, buildings that have any type of patrimonial protection have been distinguished. 120places have been analyzed in total in the Historic Site. Tourist shops and restaurants tend toconcentrate in limited areas and throw an approximate idea of the historic sector mostly used byvisitors. They converge in axes and nodes and create whole monofunctional sectors, thisconsequence is more evident in the case of gifts shops.C) Mobility. The different means of transports that are used by tourists, locals or both have beenanalyzed, giving attention to their stops and the routes across the Historic Site.D) Information in pedestrian routes. Registration of the location of the tourist street signs that indicatethe resources, street plans and tourist information points. 127 elements were identified in total. Theirlocation give an aproximate idea of the pedestrian routes that are currently in use and of those thatare wanted to be used by the local government. It also stands out the variety of designs and theirconcentration around a zone or a resource. These factors cause visitors’ confussion instead of helpingthem to orientate.E) Urban scene. This categoy is divided into stage and actors. In the first group the pedestrianizedareas and the reurbanized ones have been studied. Beautification initiatives like wall poems,contemporary sculptures, singular furniture and artistic lighting were also analyzed. Oustanding arethe initiatives that show or even rebuild some patrimonial elements like painted façades or themedieval muslim wall. Actors refer to the location of almond sellers and street artists. Theconcentration of these persons coincides with the zones with a major tourist activities density.F) Safety. The CCTV surveyed area has been analyzed. This coincides with the broader streets of theHistoric Site which are once more the most significant tourist route.Fig. 5: Commerce and restaurants location in the Historic Site Area.6
  7. 7. G) Waste management. Study of the location of 38 underground waste containers. These elementshave been chosen because their implantation was made in the period of the tourist transformation ofthe Historic Site. They are fixed in a place and show which areas are wanted to be more attractive.Their distribution coincides with the highest density of tourist activities and the new tourist zones.There is a significant contrast between the improvement of waste management in these areas andthe one observed in the degraded boundaries.H) Picasso references. The figure of the painter occupies a preferential place in tourist guides, plans,routes and policies of all kinds. The aim was to verify if Picassos prominence in these means wasreflected in the lived city so a total amount of 24 indications were analyzed. On the whole, thesereferences have a reclaim function for visitors, opposite to the lack of signs that can find in the spacesmainly frequented by the local population. 3. ConclusionsThe spatial concentration of visitors and tourist activities reflects the selection process that supposesthe urban tourism phenomenon around a small area of the Historic Site and a few patrimonial objects.This selective process demonstrates the unsettled application of the cultural, urban and tourist policiesin the different neighbourhoods, depending on their interest as a touristical resource.In addition, the selective process gives place to a series of consequences concerning different aspectsof the the city included in theming, which affect to the management of architectural and urbanheritage, residents, land uses and cultural integrity of the city.Participatory cartography allows to have a simultaneous vision of the location, description and imageof each one of the elements. It is possible to establish connections between the different aspects andchanges can be included as the work is developing and circumstances change, since the study of thetourist activity in the city is a process always in transformation. This methodology is speciallyinteresting in the field of urban heritage management, because it allows a direct way of opinion andcivil participation in the taking of decisions and it is useful at the moment of establishing priorities onwhich heritage should be preserved or offered as a tourist resource. Bibliographical References[1] ARNO, Peters. La nueva cartografía. Barcelona: Vicens Vives, 1991. ISBN 978-84-316-2930-4.[2] ASHWORTH, Gregory; TUNBRIDGE, John. The tourist-historic city. Retrospect and prospect ofmanaging the heritage city. Oxford: Elsevier Science, 2000. ISBN 0080436757[3] BRITO, Marcelo. Ciudades históricas como destinos patrimoniales. Una mirada comparada:España y Brasil. Sevilla: Junta de Andalucía, Consejería de Cultura, 1998. ISBN 978-84-935859-7-6.[4] DE LA CALLE VAQUERO, Manuel. La ciudad histórica como destino turístico. Barcelona: Ariel,2006. ISBN 9788434467989.[5] GALÍ ESPELT, Núria. Mirades turístiques a la ciutat. Anàlisi del comportament dels visitants delbarri vell de Girona. Gerona: Universitat de Girona, 2005. ISBN 84-689-1334-0.[6] TROITIÑO VINUESA, Miguel Ángel. Ciudades patrimonio de la humanidad: patrimonio, turismo yrecuperación urbana. Sevilla: Universidad Internacional de Andalucía, 2009. ISBN 978-84-7993-071-4.[7] Espacio Red de Práctica y Culturas Digitales (International University of Andalusia):[8] Cartac:[9] Meipi project: What Maps Don’t Show.[10] Meipi project: Malagaturismo.[11] Workshop video: What Maps Don’t Show:[12] Meipi tutorial: 7