Tourist Gentrification of retail shops in Palma (Majorca, Spain)

Authors: Macià Blázquez-Salom*, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Asunción Blanco-Romero, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Ivan Murray, Universitat de les Illes Balears, Jaume Gual, Universitat de les Illes Balears
Topics: Tourism Geography, Urban Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: retail stores, retailscape, tourism, gentrification, Palma, cultural heritage, boutiquing, touristification, overtourism.
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Washington 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Overtourism is driven by urban entrepreneurialism, which restructures the city by substituting low income inhabitants and consumers through gentrification. Among other expressions, the ‘retailscape’ refers to a new landscape of retail stores as a physical expression of the built environment’s changing function in the everyday life that defines a city. Within this framework, our goal is to perform a geographical analysis of the tourist gentrification of the retail stores in Palma. The research design consists of establishing the patterns of change in Palma retail shops through classification, geolocation and mapping. The main source of information is a collection of photographs taken of façades in the 1980s and their 2017 updated versions. Our findings show two different patterns: conversion into boutique-style businesses offering mainly products to tourists on the main shopping streets and the decline and closure of stores on secondary streets. Future scenarios suggest further expansion of the gentrification frontier to side streets. As a response to the social concern for their removal, the local government of Palma has initiated the cataloguing of those retail shops considered to be heritage. Our research design can be applied to other scenarios.. This research contributes to documenting the effects of overtourism in restructuring the retailscape of the city of Palma.

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