Pressing 'fastforward' by keeping still: heritage preservation as a paradox in urban renewal
Paula Mota Santos (Universidade Fernando Pessoa and Universidade de Lisboa, Centro de Administração de Políticas Públicas ISCSP)
Paper short abstract:
1996: UNESCO classifies Porto's old city as a World Heritage Site; 2011: Portugal asks for a financial bail-out; 2017: Porto is the European city with the highest possibility of tourism revenue growth. The role of conservation in moving forward toward an increased modernity is analysed.
Paper long abstract:
In 1996 UNESCO classifies Porto's old city as a World Heritage Site. In 2011 Portugal asks for a financial bail-out in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. In 2012 and in 2014 Porto is voted 'Best European Destination'. In 2015 the low-cost carrier Easyjet installs an international hub in Porto's airport. In 2017, Porto is again 'Best European Destination'. A 2017 report by PwC highlights Porto as the European city with the highest possibility of tourism revenue growth. In 2018, 10 out of the 14 new hotels to be built in Portugal's northern region are in Porto. According to the National Association of Hotel Owners, this increase is not so much related to the country's tourism boom, but to the increase of urban rehabilitation in the old core whereby whole blocks are being turned into high-end hotels. Moving beyond the classic classification of monumental and social time, the tourism boom in Porto and the role played by the preservation of traditional or historical assets (cuisine, buildings, handicrafts etc) in a process of moving away from economic downturn period will be presented. Heritage (as classified built environment subjected to regulations that preserve a specific point in time, and that is seen has inhabited by a traditional social world) and its role in the process of moving forward toward an ever increasing Modernity, translated into the participation of this mid-size city of a peripheral European country into ever wider networks of the symbolic economy, will be analysed.
Encounters between past and future: ethnographic approaches on urban renovation, redevelopment, gentrification and heritagization