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New Places in Old Spaces: Mapping Tourism and Regeneration in Budapest

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The aim of this paper is to map some of the new developments that have been taking place in Budapest since 1989, in particular focusing on the role that tourism and cultural regeneration have played in transforming old spaces into new places. The redevelopment of former socialist cities is politically complex, as new power relationships need to be negotiated, heritage values must be reassessed, and widening economic and social disparities should be addressed. Tourism needs to be managed carefully if it is to contribute in a positive way to economic development, heritage conservation and promotion, and enhancement of the local quality of life. A number of examples are used to demonstrate the spatial transformations that are taking place in Budapest. In some cases, historic spaces have been accorded new and symbolic status (e.g. as World Heritage Sites); some attractions have been re-packaged as itineraries or trails (e.g. the Cultural Avenue project). Some socialist heritage has been removed to the outskirts of the city (e.g. Statue Park). Some previously derelict areas are being transformed and regenerated into national cultural or international business spaces. New shopping and leisure areas are also being created in accordance with Budapest's desire to be recognized as a dynamic and cosmopolitan city. Questions are then raised about the implications of these developments for the future planning of the city as a new tourism destination in a competitive market.

Keywords: Budapest; Space; place; regeneration; tourism; transformation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Tourism Institute, Kodolanyi Janos University College, Szekesfehervar, Hungary 2: Business School, University of Greenwich, London, UK 3: Geographical Research Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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