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Exploring urban creativity: visitor experiences of Spitalfields, London

Pappalepore, Ilaria and Maitland, Robert and Smith, Andrew (2010) Exploring urban creativity: visitor experiences of Spitalfields, London. Tourism Culture & Communication, 10 (3). pp. 217-230. ISSN 1098-304X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/109830410X12910355180946


This article critically examines visitor experiences of a creative urban area, to help explore the relationships between creative industries, consumption, and the development of urban tourism. After reviewing available literature on creative areas and their appeal for emerging types of contemporary tourists, the article concentrates on one creative area in London: Spitalfields. Drawing on 50 semistructured interviews conducted with visitors between November 2007 and March 2008, the article explores the role of the creative industries in developing urban tourism, via an analysis of visitors' perceptions, experiences, and characteristics, as well as the tangible and intangible qualities of an emerging tourism area. The findings suggest that Spitalfields is an established offthe-beaten-track destination that is starting to attract more mainstream tourists with the consequent departure of some groups of visitors. “Atmosphere” appears to be crucial to the visitor experience and is created by a number of elements including independent shops, a high number of young artists, new fashions, and cultural diversity. All these elements contribute to make the area seem distinctive, but at the same time “typically London.” The findings shed light on the complexity of the tourist experience, interrogating some key concepts such as atmosphere, perceived authenticity, and new forms of cultural capital in the context of a creative urban area.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Architecture and the Built Environment, School of
ID Code:10442
Deposited On:26 Apr 2012 16:44
Last Modified:26 Apr 2012 16:44

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