Richard Florida’s latest in CityLab
about the growing global backlash to “over-tourism”
quickly goes through a long list of cities and what they’re doing to restrict the impact of tourism as the number of tourists continues to soar.
Florida argues that “scapegoating” tourism isn’t the solution, but recognizing that this is all part of what he’s called the “new urban crisis,” meaning that “[r]estricting the number of tourists or tourism-related activities will do little to solve the root problem of inequality.” While there is some truth to this, it’s wrong to write off tourism as a factor making inequality more difficult to address, particularly in major tourist hotspots.
Telling Amsterdam or Barcelona that tourism isn’t really a problem is pretty ignorant, given how the centres of many of these major destinations are being hollowed out and serving tourists before residents. Yes, there needs to be more affordable housing and transit, but just as there are spatial limits to the number of vehicles that can fit on streets, there are also limits to the number of people which can be crammed into areas of cities.
Florida also mentions Venice and Dubrovnik, yet still writes off all criticism of tourism as misguided, when rather it’s his self-serving method of putting the promotion of his books and ideas first, as he did with the “creative class,” that’s incorrect.
This week the Guardian
published a piece by Dutch novelist Joost de Vries about how tourism is changing Amsterdam
. He says that “Venice” is shorthand for this change, and that the city is becoming “un-created” by uncontrolled mass tourism.
Riding my bike, I don’t feel Amsterdam is being taken over by tourists: I simply don’t feel I’m in Amsterdam at all.