Often times when one travels from their home to a different area to where they haven’t been before, but are curious to see what the place has to offer, the person becomes known as a “tourist”. Depending on the place however, sometimes the act of tourism isn’t seen as positively by the locals. Being here for the last week, we’ve observed the built design of Barcelona and the impact it’s components have on the people living in the city; we’ve also taken many opinions through the people and through resources like “Bye Bye Barcelona”.
As we took our selfies around Barcelona, we were able to take in culture and history from the art, the design, and the people themselves. In all we saw, there was a strong theme of connection and community throughout. Many of the places we saw such as the Magic Fountain of Montjuic and the Placa De Catalunya had open spaces for the population to enjoy and be around for long periods of time without boredom because of the surrounding supplements of shopping stores and markets.
While trying to make our way to the top of Barcelona at the Carmel Bunker, Courtney and I saw many anti-tourism expressions as we got closer and closer to the destination. Earlier in the day, we were yelled at by an older Catalonian gentleman, who’s main point to us throughout his angered words were since we’re students learning in a different country, should we not be learning the language of where we are? I could only respond in Spanish or English which only seemed to further his aggression. I think the main difference I took away from this experience as well as the Chicago Selfie Project and the Barcelona Selfie Project was the level of comfort in doing them; I’m familiar with Chicago, but in Barcelona, I’m a stranger.
The question still remains, how does my being here impact the permanent residents in Barcelona? There are pros and cons to every situation; while the tourist business can be a profitable one, it comes at a high cost as talked about in an article on the website, “Parallels”. “With more than 30 million annual tourists in a city of 1.6 million residents, there may be more tourist rentals in Barcelona than year-long leases for full-time residents.” (Sanz,2017). Chicago is an enormous metropolitan city, but I don’t think I ever thought about the flood of tourism that occurs due to my residency in a small northern suburb. As we continue our experience for the next 4 weeks, it’ll be interesting to continue observation of the permanent residents and their reactions to us and the rest of the country’s visitors.