Whose heritage? Challenges coming from turning cities as tourist places

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The tertiarisation of society along the second half of the 20th century and the correlated growth of culture and leisure industries created an unprecedented pressure for change on historic centres, creating paradoxical relations between tourism, heritage preservation and urban development. This model of development provided a more intense cross-cultural confrontation, with the corresponding differences in recognition of heritage(s) values. This paper intends to discuss the transformation of heritage from 'shared heritage' into 'consumer good' cross-checking its effects on middle-sized cities Portuguese. The desertification, abandonment and degradation of the old areas created the challenge of their repopulation and their reuse. In turn, tourism has provided reuse of buildings and built new social and cultural dynamics, making it necessary to discuss how can one preserve the values and meanings of historic centres, and for whom. Recently, the Portuguese government has created fundamental changes in housing, rental and rehabilitation policies, with specific financial and legal instruments. However, their effects have not prevented the emergence of local challenges in housing law because of tourism, nor have they contributed to the promotion of new social constructions associated with heritage(s) understood as shared heritage(s). That is, public investment has not been able to enhance the heritage of the historic centres as good of public interest. For its part, the 'touristification' shows it has the power to catalyse its rehabilitation but implies changes that we intend to discuss focusing the perspective of who visits and who lives and assessing the losses and the gains for the communities.
shared heritage, heritage-led development, urban rehabilitation, tourism