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Every major European city is home to a wealth of cultural monuments and objects. This is precisely the condition that also makes every major European city a magnet for tourists, and in itself becomes an integral component of urban economic success. So, in an effort to attract and maintain tourism, cities market their cultural treasures, in effect, commodifying them. Generically speaking, there is nothing wrong with this. In practice, however, and with increasing frequency, the sites or objects most popular with the tourists are being revamped, cleaned, and rediscovered, to keep them — in the mind of the public — something new, something to be seen again. The daily practice of the principles of custodianship are no longer applied even-handedly, which is to say that two 600-year-old churches don’t necessarily receive the same attention or the same budget to be allocated towards preservation. Because it’s always the big hits, the top ten, that receive the tourist attention, they also receive the lion’s share of the conservation and sponsorship dollars.

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