Attracting visitors cover


Daniel Barrera Fernández

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289 pages

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Attracting visitors to ancient neighbourhoods

Creation and management of the historic city of Plymouth, UK

The tourist use of the historic city normally implies a deep transformation of its urban structure. A few heritage assets and public spaces achieve a renovated attention and are turned into icons, while the rest of them may remain underused. This research analyses this process in the case of the waterfront city of Plymouth, UK

In recent years, many cities have decided to develop urban and cultural tourism as a means to activate their economy and regenerate their historical areas in a context of physical decay and loss of activities.

In European cities, the introduction of new tourist uses commonly occurs in the urban areas that have been recognized for their heritage value: the historic city. These areas reflect the evolution of cities from their origin to the present day and their model for the future. Historic cities normally concentrate most of the heritage assets and they usually have a well-defined character, distinct from recent extensions. European countries have similar patterns in the protection and management of historic cities, although some differences in planning and management can be observed. In this research the particularities of the British model have been studied.

The historic areas of some European cities have attracted a significant number of tourists for centuries. Well-known examples include Bath, Heidelberg and Florence, which are today consolidated heritage tourism destinations. In these cities, tourism is often the dominant activity and heritage conservation has become a priority, being many of them included in the list of World Heritage. This phenomenon has been studied by several researchers.

On the other hand, a number of cities where tourism was a secondary sector have chosen to turn it into a major economic activity in recent years. These cities present a competitive disadvantage compared to the earlier, with a less recognized heritage and lack of major cultural attractions. In many cases, extensive industrial and port areas have remained vacant due to the economic changes brought by globalization. These cities were not prepared to attract large numbers of visitors and they are undergoing a rapid transfor- mation process, especially complex in the historic city because it is where most of the attractions, secondary activities and visitors are concentrated in a fragile environment. This research focuses on the explained phenomenon, the goal is to analyze the tourist use of the historic city and how this process affects to urban heritage.

About the author

Daniel Barrera-Fernandez got his degree in architecture at the University of Seville. He presented his doctoral thesis at the University of Malaga, entitled "Schools of thoughts in the heritage and tourist management of the historic city", where he developed a comparative research on tourist use of the historic city and its implications on urban heritage in two selected cities: Plymouth and Malaga. He is currently professor at the Department of Architecture in the University of Guanajuato, in the field of urban planning and heritage preservation. His research interests focus on conservation and integration of built heritage, compared cultural policy, regeneration of run-down neighbourhoods, urban tourism, city marketing, theming, gentrification, creative neighbourhoods, events and accessibility to historic cities. He has developed a number of publications on those topics, most of which can be consulted and downloaded from

He is a member of Forum UNESCO University and Heritage, Association of Critical Heritage Studies and Association of European Schools of Planning – Young Academics Network.