Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Tourism, heritage and authenticity: state-assisted cultural commodification in suburban Sydney, Australia

Renée Wirth, Robert Freestone


Places are (re)constructed for tourism consumption through the promotion of certain images that have implications for the built environment. The act of consuming places itself is a place creating and place altering force. The visual and physical consumption of places also shapes the cultural meaning attached to spaces and places. New meanings of place emerge which often conflict with the meanings once ascribed by the local community. These processes of commodification are well known to cultural theorists and practitioners. This paper uses the broader literature to inform a more specific study revealing state intervention in a process now enveloping suburban centres in global cities. Newtown in Sydney, Australia finds itself being reshaped through a convergence of the market forces of gentrification and the entrepreneurial initiatives of government and in the process is seen to be losing some of the authenticity which was part of the appeal in the first place.

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