Tourism and the development of 'creative' urban areas: evidence from four non-central areas in London

Pappalepore, I. 2010. Tourism and the development of 'creative' urban areas: evidence from four non-central areas in London. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Architecture and the Built Environment

TitleTourism and the development of 'creative' urban areas: evidence from four non-central areas in London
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsPappalepore, I.
Abstract

The economic importance of creative industries is widely acknowledged, but their

relationship with tourism has to date received little attention. The present research

explores the role creative industry clusters play in the development of urban

tourism, aiming to enrich debates on urban tourism, creative clusters and urban

form. The research pays particular attention to the role of creative production in

the tourist experience, the characteristics of visitors to areas with a high

concentration of creative industries, and the relationship between the urban form

and tourism. In order to investigate these processes, four non-central London

creative areas (Spitalfields, Hoxton/Shoreditch, London Fields and Deptford)

were chosen as case studies.

A qualitative methodology based on face-to-face interviews and sketched mental

maps was deemed the most appropriate to attain the research aims. A total of 132

face-to-face interviews with visitors were conducted in the four case studies. In

addition, maps sketched by visitors provided a useful and new approach to the

study of tourist experiences. Interviews with visitors and mental maps were

supplemented with in-depth interviews with key informants such as local creative

entrepreneurs. All interviews were transcribed, printed on paper and, together with

mental maps, coded by hand according to themes and sub-themes.

The research findings highlight similarities and differences between the four areas,

allowing reflection upon the ways in which creative clusters may facilitate the

development of urban tourism. One of the consequences of the high concentration

of creative industries appeared to be the attraction of a critical mass of visitors

who are either employed in the creative industries themselves or are particularly

interested in the arts or other creative products, such as fashion, design and

architecture. In the case of creative professionals, their visit may also be closely

related to their job, as they often visit creative areas in order to be up to date with the latest trends, or to soak up the creative atmosphere and be inspired for their

own creativity. In addition, these cultural intermediaries often act as models of

fashion and style, thus becoming a tourist attraction themselves. In this sense,

tourism in creative areas can be seen as a form of co-creation, since consumers cocreate

the value that can be derived from the experience (White et al., 2009) and

others represent an important aspect of the visitor experience. Following the

analysis of qualitative evidence collected, five typologies of visitors to these areas

were established: trendsetters, detached fashion critics, cool seekers, cultural

browsers and accidental creative tourists. These types of visitors are characterised

by different levels of interest in creative products and desire to be a pioneer (in

discovering new trend or new places). Their varying perceptions of the areas’

qualities helped to develop a model which represents how different groups of

visitors may perceive a creative area over time.

The idea of cool appeared as a key concept to understand the qualities which are

valued and sought after in a creative area. Coolness emerged as a fundamental

quality, linked to its bohemian character and to its distinction from mainstream

cultural activities and tourist attractions. Perceived authenticity also appeared as

an important asset in attracting visitors, who seemed to associate it with anything

which did not appear as conceived or produced specifically for the visitor. Also

the areas’ physical space emerged as an important factor in the visitor experience

and in their appeal. In particular, the small size of the shops, the heterogeneity of

urban environment and the presence of rundown buildings and public spaces

contribute to the perception of authenticity, artiness and coolness, and thus to the

area attractiveness. Everyday activities (e.g. grocery shops) are also important

markers of authenticity, contributing to overseas and domestic tourists’ perception

of these areas as ‘real London’ (Londoners by contrast see them as ‘unique’). The

recommendations for tourism development policy in creative urban areas

therefore call for a soft approach to planning, which would allow cultural

diversity to thrive and keep independent businesses and everyday activities alive,

and avoiding excessive theming and the creation of tourism bubbles.

Year2010
FileIlaria_Pappalepore_NEW.pdf
Publication dates
Completed2010

Related outputs

Redressing the balance: inverted hierarchies in the tourism classroom
Pappalepore, I. and Farrell, H.C. 2017. Redressing the balance: inverted hierarchies in the tourism classroom. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism Education. 21 (Part B), pp. 144-153.

The Co-Creation of Urban Tourism Experiences
Pappalepore, I. and Smith, A. 2016. The Co-Creation of Urban Tourism Experiences. in: Russo, A.P. and Richards, G. (ed.) Reinventing the Local in Tourism Bristol Channel View Publications. pp. 87-100

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Pappalepore, I. 2011. The Olympic Games' cultural programme and its role in fostering local creativity: report to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). London University of Westminster.

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Marketing the postmodern city, a shift from tangible to intangible advantages
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