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Open AccessArticle

Culture and Tourism in Porto City Centre: Conflicts and (Im)Possible Solutions

Institute of Development Studies of Galicia (IDEGA), University of Santiago de Compostela, Chalé dos Catedráticos, 1. Avda. das Ciencias s/n, Campus Vida, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain
Research Center for Geography and Spatial Planning (CEGOT), Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Porto (FLUP), Via Panorâmica, s/n, 4150–364 Porto, Portugal
The Center Program/DCSP T, University of Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810–193 Aveiro, Portugal
CIIIC-ISCET, Rua de Cedofeita, 4050–180 Porto, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5701;
Received: 30 July 2019 / Revised: 13 September 2019 / Accepted: 2 October 2019 / Published: 15 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Visitor Management in Tourist Historic Cities)
City centres are spaces where different economic and cultural values converge as a consequence of their current uses and functions. In the case of Porto (Portugal), more than 20 years after being declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (in 1996), tourism has had remarkable effects on its physical, social and economic features. Therefore, Porto—and in particular its city centre—is taken in this article as the object of study. The interest of this space lies in the fact that it has been rapidly transformed from a devalued old area into the centre of an important urban tourism destination on a European level. Based on the spatial and temporal analysis of a set of indicators related to tourism, housing and economic activity, we identify the main threats that this “culture-led regeneration”—much supported by tourism—could have on the cultural values of Porto. Our results show that this process is promoting an excessive use of space by tourism and an overexploitation of cultural values. We conclude with some policy recommendations to support strategies capable of keeping cultural values alive, which we consider sustainable compromises between heritage and modernization. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban tourism; culture-led regeneration; cultural capital; sustainability; Porto city centre urban tourism; culture-led regeneration; cultural capital; sustainability; Porto city centre
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Gusman, I.; Chamusca, P.; Fernandes, J.; Pinto, J. Culture and Tourism in Porto City Centre: Conflicts and (Im)Possible Solutions. Sustainability 2019, 11, 5701.

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