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Article

Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Retail Structure in Barcelona: From Tourism-Phobia to the Desertification of City Center

Department of Geography, University of Barcelona, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Academic Editors: Herculano Cachinho and Teresa Barata-Salgueiro
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8215; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158215
Received: 25 May 2021 / Revised: 18 July 2021 / Accepted: 20 July 2021 / Published: 22 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Retail Systems: Vulnerability, Resilience and Sustainability)
COVID-19 has meant major transformations for commercial fabric. These transformations have been motivated by the collapse of consumer mobility at multiple scales. We analyzed the impact of the collapse of global tourist flows on the commercial fabric of Barcelona city center, a city that has been a global reference in over-tourism and tourism-phobia. Fieldwork in the main commercial areas before and after the pandemic and complementary semi-structured interviews with the main agents involved highlight the relationship between global tourist flows and commercial fabric. The paper shows how the end of global tourism has meant an important commercial desertification. The end of the integration of the city center into global consumer flows has implications for urban theory. It means a downscaling of the city center and the questioning of traditional center-periphery dynamics. It has been shown that the tourist specialization of commerce has important effects on the real estate market and makes it particularly vulnerable. However, the touristic specialization of commercial activities as a strategy of resilience has also been presented. This adaptation faces the generalized commercial desertification that drives the growing concentration of consumption around the online channel. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; retailing; urban sustainability; global tourism; rescaling urbanization; retail apocalypse; Barcelona COVID-19; retailing; urban sustainability; global tourism; rescaling urbanization; retail apocalypse; Barcelona
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MDPI and ACS Style

Frago, L. Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Retail Structure in Barcelona: From Tourism-Phobia to the Desertification of City Center. Sustainability 2021, 13, 8215. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158215

AMA Style

Frago L. Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Retail Structure in Barcelona: From Tourism-Phobia to the Desertification of City Center. Sustainability. 2021; 13(15):8215. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158215

Chicago/Turabian Style

Frago, Lluís. 2021. "Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Retail Structure in Barcelona: From Tourism-Phobia to the Desertification of City Center" Sustainability 13, no. 15: 8215. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158215

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