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Visiting the Borderless City: Traveling via the Internet
Unformatted Document Text:  which may actually challenge the problematic impact that dominant types of tourism have on cities. The impact of urban tourism The growing importance of tourism has led cities to reshape urban space in ways that concern many who study the city. Tourism encourages the replacement of shops and restaurants that distinguish a particular neighborhood with standardized businesses that are familiar to the visitor. One reason for this is the strength of large corporate restaurant and hotel chains, which can market themselves nationally. ’The multinational firms that supply the convention hotels, chain restaurants, and retail establishments follow a corporate model, resulting in the seemingly endless proliferation of atrium lobbies, formulaic restaurants, and chrome-and-glass boutiques selling identical merchandise’ (Fainstein and Judd, 1999: 13). When corporate chains replace the traditional shops and buildings connected to a city’s community, one city can no longer be differentiated from the next. 6 Equally important, the new spaces centered around tourism are designed primarily to encourage people to shop. Michael Sorkin (1992) argues this focus on consumption degrades civic life by discouraging casual encounters between neighbors: ’Obsessed with the point of production and the point of sale, the new city is little more than a swarm of urban bits jettisoning a physical view of the whole, sacrificing the idea of the city as the site of community and human connection’ (xiii). Yet, the same market forces which encourage homogenization encourage differentiation. As one city becomes more similar to the next, promoters must give tourists a reason to visit their city and not someone else’s. For cities that lack the natural assets of warm climate, beautiful scenery or ocean beaches, this often means promoting cultural attractions that are original to a city. In particular, a city may advertise its local heritage or traditions. This marketing of a city’s

Authors: Fotsch, Paul.
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which may actually challenge the problematic impact that dominant types of tourism have on
cities.
The impact of urban tourism
The growing importance of tourism has led cities to reshape urban space in ways that
concern many who study the city. Tourism encourages the replacement of shops and restaurants
that distinguish a particular neighborhood with standardized businesses that are familiar to the
visitor. One reason for this is the strength of large corporate restaurant and hotel chains, which
can market themselves nationally. ’The multinational firms that supply the convention hotels,
chain restaurants, and retail establishments follow a corporate model, resulting in the seemingly
endless proliferation of atrium lobbies, formulaic restaurants, and chrome-and-glass boutiques
selling identical merchandise’ (Fainstein and Judd, 1999: 13). When corporate chains replace the
traditional shops and buildings connected to a city’s community, one city can no longer be
differentiated from the next.
6
Equally important, the new spaces centered around tourism are
designed primarily to encourage people to shop. Michael Sorkin (1992) argues this focus on
consumption degrades civic life by discouraging casual encounters between neighbors: ’Obsessed
with the point of production and the point of sale, the new city is little more than a swarm of
urban bits jettisoning a physical view of the whole, sacrificing the idea of the city as the site of
community and human connection’ (xiii).
Yet, the same market forces which encourage homogenization encourage differentiation.
As one city becomes more similar to the next, promoters must give tourists a reason to visit their
city and not someone else’s. For cities that lack the natural assets of warm climate, beautiful
scenery or ocean beaches, this often means promoting cultural attractions that are original to a
city. In particular, a city may advertise its local heritage or traditions. This marketing of a city’s


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