International Conference

6th Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) - TOURBANISM

TOURbanISM-toURBANISM is the title of the 6th Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism that will take place from January 25th to 27th, 2012, at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya Barcelona Tech (UPC) in Barcelona.

The Barcelona School of Architecture (ETSAB) in collaboration with the Municipality of Barcelona, the Provincial Government of Barcelona, Casa Asia and the other participating universities of the IFoU network will organize the conference within the framework of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU).

Subject

Tourism is one of the leading global economic activities. According to the 2009 Edition of the “International Tourism Overview”, published by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), its direct contribution to the global economy is estimated in 5%, ranging from 2% in the most developed countries to 10% in those that strongly rely on this sector. In 2008 global revenues generated by tourism, including transport of passengers, were about 3.000 million dollars, and its contribution to employment is estimated around 7% of the working population.

The amount of tourists has grown continuously since the middle of last century, from 25 million in 1950 to 922 in 2008. For 2020 the UNWTO foresees that the number of tourists will reach 1.600 million. Despite the changing trends that occurred from the second half of 2008 to the date, due to the global economic crisis (financial crisis, rising oil and raw materials prices, and sharp fluctuations in exchange rates) the sector growth has not ceased. In 2010 the UNWTO estimates a 4% increase in the number of tourists.

Over the last fifty years the global economy experienced several serious crisis and tourism has always proved to be a very strong economic sector. The current crisis has not significantly affected tourism. Consequently it has become the economic hope of many countries affected by the decline of economies based on raw materials or small profit industrial activities.

The map of the main tourism destinations has remained quite stable for many years. Europe is the largest and most mature destination in the world. 53% of tourists and 50% of revenues concentrate in this continent. The U.S. market (15.9% of tourists and 19.9% of revenues in 2008), that remains stable thanks to the domestic market, has been overtaken by Asia (20% of arrivals and 21,8% of revenues), that appears as an emerging area. Africa and Middle East are the two destinations with highest growth rates, although their absolute weight is relatively small.

Over the years tourism becomes a major engine that has transformed cities and territories, and an economic and social development bid for several countries. The aim of the 6th International Forum on Urbanism -IFoU- Conference is to reflect on tourism and especially on the changing processes as well as the instruments, plans, projects and strategies that arise in relation to it.

Aims

The conference aims to generate an exchange between the academic and the professional debate, to investigate opportunities and risks for the sustainable touristical development and to discuss visions, concepts and best practices. In this framework causes, reasons and dependencies of worldwide transformation processes will be analyzed and planning strategies and design concepts for a more sustainable development of tourism will be explored.

Target Groups

During the conference, scientific results, as well as design concepts and technical solutions will be presented; theoretical approaches will be discussed as well as professional experiences and best practices. With this in mind, the target group would include a range of different backgrounds: architects and urban planners; policy makers, students and researchers from different disciplines; managers and politicians, all of whom are involved in or interested in design, planning and the management of touristic developments.

Call for papers

Papers are invited for submission under the following sub-themes:

Tourism: Evolution and recent trends
A. From tourism as a social conquest to new types of tourism
B. World tourism trends (categories, destinations...)

Evaluation of "mature" tourist destinations

C. Impacts of tourism development
D. The recycling of the tourist areas

Potential of post-industrial territories

E. The recycling of historical tourism
F. The new holiday tourism. Tourism and economic development

Towards a new paradigm
G. Cultural tourism in "weak institutional contexts"
H. Responsible Tourism
I. Architecture, urbanism and tourism

Sub-themes


Tourism: Evolution and recent trends

A. From tourism as a social conquest to new types of tourism

The emergence of tourism as we currently know it is the result of social and economic achievements of the working classes of the most economically advanced countries in the early twentieth century. They conquered the right to enjoy leisure time, which in turn has become another economic activity, a large consumption activity. Therefore tourism from its inception balances between interest in idle enjoyment and business generated by leisure consumption. The historical phases according to which we study the tourism phenomenon (aristocratic, fordist and post-fordist stage) explain an evolution from elitist to mass uniformitarian tourism and to diversification and new markets.
How have the new consumption patterns affected the social uses of tourism?
Which types of tourism are novel approaches to the mass tourism of the twentieth century?

B. World tourism trends (categories, destinations...)

The top three worldwide tourism destinations are the United States, France and Spain, in different order depending on the amount of tourists or of revenues. Tourism is primarily domestic in the United States, culture-oriented in France, and based on sun & beach in Spain. The next countries in the list are China and Italy regarding the amount of tourists, and Italy and China regarding the revenues. The four western countries have experienced negative growth over the past two years. By contrast, Asian countries have increased to a greater or lesser degree their share of arrivals and receipts. Even the tourism market being very stable, the preferred destinations are moving towards the Pacific -regarding the large tourism flows- and to countries with greater economic difficulties but with important natural sources -regarding the so-called green and alternative tourism-.
May these types of tourism provide differential values, to support a renewed relationship with the territory?



Evaluation of "mature" tourist destinations

C. Impacts of tourism development

In the second half of the twentieth century tourism has produced an important legacy, large urban settlements of great regional impact, and quite frequently serious obsolescence. Tourism is an economic invasive activity associated with a large number of transformations. From the physical point of view, the demand for access to touristic destinations, for accommodation and for improvement of cultural and recreational facilities have drastically changed the urban and regional reality of touristic areas. Such transformations have moved from mere tourism effects to become the true protagonists. In some territories the economic effects of urbanization have been higher than those of the tourism activities, and the strategies of both economies have not always gone hand in hand. From the social point of view the touristic transformation of spaces and activities that for residents historically had other meanings, have significantly affected local social uses in exchange for certain economic revenues that not always benefit those groups that suffer this invasion.
Can urban and regional projects provide criteria to ensure a positive impact of touristic development on the affected social structures?

D. The recycling of the tourist areas

Tourism is one of the economic phenomena with greatest impact on the transformation of territory, maybe the most significant. Therefore the question that arises is what to do with mature tourism areas, with the huge appliances built for sun & beach or snow tourism, which in its relentless growth have devoured the landscapes that justified them. The battle for survival, in the absence of alternatives and increasing international competition, forces these territories to a price competition and to accept any market conditions that push the tourist city to its own degradation. Density, obsolete accommodation and facilities, destruction of natural attractions, seasonality, difficulties to change the uses, are some of the problems -provoked by mass tourism over the last fifty years- that conversion and reuse will have to deal with. And they are the main problem for many of the countries involved in tourism.
What specifities show tourist orientated growths in relation to other types of urban growth?
Until what extent an excessive specialization implies great difficulties for renewal strategies in mature tourist environments?
What are the disciplinary factors to be considered in the renewal of mature tourist environments (landscape, energy, mobility, diversity of uses / times)?



Potential of post-industrial territories

E. The recycling of historical tourism

Urban and cultural tourism was already on the Grand Tour of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries aristocracy. The history of the cities was the main reason to integrate the journey as an essential part of the education of a gentleman. Tourism in several European countries (Italy, France and Germany) begins at the time with those practices. Other countries have founded their tourist attraction exploiting the exoticism of their past. Cultural history as the only value has sometimes led to serious urban problems, emptied historic cities and transformed urban landscapes into great decoration. The post-industrial city has been incorporated into the tourism circuit claiming its past as a cultural value, offering a space for new economic activities and tourism in addition to these. Problems in these cases are quite similar to those of historic cities, that is to say, the risks of theming and removal of the cities own contents.
May we propose a new understanding of cultural heritage that goes beyond the physical legacy?
May it become the economic basis of territories that find in tourism a new productive sector?
May mature touristic zones become the Cities of Tomorrow?

F. The new holiday tourism. Tourism and economic development

Tourism is presented as a solution for underdeveloped territories. At the same time existing tourism zones need to reinvent the artefacts of mass tourism, and to understand and articulate the tourism role of the post-industrial cities. Many of the large state operations in the middle of last century were based on the same premises (as the project "Racine" in Languedoc-Roussillon to develop the South France desert coast or Cancun in Mexican territory of Quintana Roo). In the economically weak countries, the unlimited sale of their territories for holiday tourism in order to repeat the economic "miracle" of mature touristic countries during the second half of the twentieth century, appears as an opportunity and at the same time a high risk operation. The debate about environmental sustainability seems very weak or just a pure propagandist question.
How can we take advantage of this opportunity and which could be the models, tools and programs to meet the so-called green or "sustainable" tourism that takes care of natural resources?
What should be the development criteria able to preserve the environmental, physical and social values, and therefore able to ensure models that consider the area's identity?



Towards a new paradigm

G. Cultural tourism in "weak institutional contexts"

Many territories strive for universal recognition. The inclusion in the World Heritage Site list seems to be the most coveted title, as it is supposed to generate considerable prestige and may attract significant investment flows and visitors. But we also know about the increasing degradation processes that an excessive amount of visitors generates, carrying dangers and disadvantages to many areas. Interventions in cultural landscapes located in weak institutional contexts, those characterized by the loss of natural relationship between culture and their geographical and social basis, become both an opportunity and a threat to its population and heritage.
Is it possible to translate a broad recognition in a balanced local development?
What might be the necessary safeguards to ensure a proper balance between transformation and local development?

H. Responsible Tourism

After fifty years of mass tourism, a new approach to tourism stresses several issues. At first an understanding of the basic reasons to travel and stay in a remote space: personal enjoyment, other’s knowledge, coexistence, and cultural exchange, etc. or replacement of the work force, escape from everyday life, relaxation of standards, consumption and disregard for others' values, etc. Mass tourism often has meant selling of oneself –the own culture, landscape or territory- for tourist consumption. At a time when tourism is the only financial hope for many countries with severe economic difficulties, UNWTO calls for responsible tourism following the Millennium Development Goals of poverty eradication and climate change.
What are the characteristics of the new tourism types and what novelties do they bring to mass tourism?
On what criteria should social, economic and environmentally sustainable tourism be based?

I. Architecture, urbanism and tourism

We need a theoretical reflection on what has been the contribution of architecture, urbanism and landscape in the construction and development of tourism. In the beginning the architecture of resorts and hotels was a simple translation of urban architecture. Later on the increased demand for accommodation in the tourist areas implied new panoramic hotels, apartment buildings and low density housing, offering the best scenario for the development of modern architecture. The folk pastiche, the post-modern architecture, and the architecture of the technology gesture or the environmental simulation appeared at last. Regarding planning we moved from government programs for depressed areas to regional tourism plans or proposals for the renewal of tourism areas. The bad professional conscience and the terrible examples of tourism architecture should not preclude claiming and studying those proposals that due to their great professional interest should become future references.
What may be the disciplinary contributions of architecture and urbanism in the renovation of existing tourist areas and in the design of new ones?
What are the urban and architectural tourism contributions to the post-industrial city?





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