Smartdest

BARCELONA CASE STUDY 

A celebrated and controversial case of urban regeneration for the tourist & cosmopolitan class

1990s-2000s: Tourism boost, infrastructure expansion and hard branding

  • Olympic urban reforms followed by strong expansion of hotel supply
  • Creation of the Tourism Promotion Board under private control
  • Promotion and consolidation of megaevents
  • Expansion of international transport infrastructure (Cruise port, 2nd low-cost airport terminal, high-speed train)

2010s: The rise of overtourism and discontent

  • 23.8M tourists + day visitors in 2019; 150K visitors per day
  • National post-crisis policy measures deepen labour and housing precarity
  • Airbnb lands in Barcelona, reaching 30% of total accommodation supply in 2015
  • New season of strategic planning since 2008 to tackle rising issue of overtourism. New zoning plan for accommodation passed in 2016
  • Tourism growth recognised as 1st source of citizen concern in 2016 survey

2020-2022: The COVID-19 crisis and Welfare Policies

  • Overnight stays in hotels drop by 78%; 20% of businesses closed for good; 90K hospitality & tourism jobs at risk in 2020
  • New labour reforms limit fixed-term contracting and increase minimum salary above 1,000€
  • Crisis-contingency measures prevent massive unemployment and evictions
  • The Catalan government establishes a zone-based cap to rent prices (declared unconstitutional in 2021)

Rise of air & cruise ship travel

2019 = 52.6M Pax

76%

Tourist arrivals by airplane

60% of Pax (2019)
Vueling, Ryanair & EasyJet

80% Total Growth

Spain = +34%, EU+UK = +111%

Other International = +148% 

[AENA; Barcelona Regional; Rico, et al., 2019]

2019 = 3.1 MM Pax

Europe’s most polluted Cruise Port

34% Total Growth

SoX = 18.277 Kg

106 Ships = 531.749 cars

[Port de Barcelona; Transport & Environment]

Intensification of tourism accommodation induces housing market pressures

Population Change 2010-2019 Tourist gentrification dynamics

expulsion old residents 🡺 substitution with new ‘mobile’ dwellers

Loss of purchasing power of tourism workers

Salaries increased 10,2%; Purchasing power decreased 2,1%

[Ajuntament de Barcelona, 2019]

WICKED PROBLEM

In a context of increasing tourism pressure, Barcelona makes space for its tourists at the expenses of the most vulnerable sectors, who are at high risk of residential displacement outside of the city or deprivation of living conditions.

The main drivers to tackle:

  • rising housing costs under the ‘bubble’ of the growth of the offer of short-term rentals
  • low salaries and precarious employment conditions offered in the expanding tourist economy

RESEARCH FOCUS & METHODOLOGIES

Effects of Tourism Growth on Residential Instability

  • Geo-spatial analysis of residential instability and population change at census track
  • Modelling of impact of growth on short-term rentals on residential instability.

Drivers, mechanisms and responses to social precarity of Hospitality & Tourism workers

  • Review of policies and regulations
  • In-depth biographical interviews with 19 workers
  • In-depth interviews with 23 key informants
  • Panel data analysis on workers trajectories (Continuous Sample of Labour Lives)

RESIDENTIAL DISPLACEMENT UNDER THE PRESSURE OF TOURISM-DRIVEN HOUSING MARKET TRANSFORMATIONS

Short-Term Rentals reinforce dynamics of Tourism-Driven Gentrification

In a context of increasing tourism pressure, Barcelona makes space for its tourists at the expenses of the most vulnerable sectors, who are at high risk of residential displacement outside of the city or deprivation of living conditions.

The main drivers to tackle:

  • rising housing costs under the ‘bubble’ of the growth of the offer of short-term rentals
  • low salaries and precarious employment conditions offered in the expanding tourist economy

Apartments and rooms on offer per 1,000 inhabitants in the neighbourhood (2019)

Airbnb induce to increase rental
income gaps
2016-2019

Percentage of residents living in the neighbourhood for 6 years or more (2016-2019)

TOURISM GROWTH AT THE EXPENSES OF THE HOSPITALITY & TOURISM WORKFORCE

LABOUR-RELATED DETERMINANTS OF RESIDENTIAL INSTABILITY

Panel-data modelling results reveal that in the post-crisis growth context, tourist workers are the most exposed to housing instability

  • Labour precarity predominantly affects female (migrant) and younger workers, determining their residential im|mobility choices
  • Tourism sector workers who remained in this sector after 2013 are the most likely to have move residence outside the city in 2019
  • Housing self-deprivation as coping strategy to maintain proximity to work centres more likely for young migrants

NEW VULNERABILITIES AND COPING STRATEGIES DURING COVID-19: key factors revealed in field-work

  • Increased labour and housing insecurity: the ‘new working poor’
  • Job retention scheme (ERTE) allows a minimum income to tourism workers in suspension of employment
  • … excludes seasonal and undocumented workers, forced into ‘unfree’ labour
  • Rental evictions stopped by national moratorium but accelerated in informal tenancy relations
  • Housing deprivation as form of coping, role of solidarity networks

The Barcelona CityLab

WHAT?

The Barcelona CityLab as a community of practice to:

  • explore and assess the problem of residential displacement induced in high-pressure
    tourist areas
  • co-design data sources, statistical modelling options, and future scenarios based on measurable policy impacts
linea

PARTICIPANTS

The Barcelona CityLab as a community of practice to:

Selection criteria

  • Data producers and users
  • Expertise and professional knowledge on tourism and housing
  • Representants of communities of concern

Col·legi d’Economistes de Catalunya, API – Col·legi i associació d’agents immobiliaris, Ajuntament de Barcelona – Direcció General de Turisme, Ajuntament de Barcelona – Innovació Social, Ajuntament de Barcelona – Urbanisme, Gremi d’Hotels de Barcelona, Barcelona Regional, INCASOL – Institut Català del Sòl, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Observatori Metropolità de l’Habitatge, Universitat de Barcelona, FAVB-Federació d’Associacions de Veïns de Barcelona, ABDT – Associació de Barris pel decreixement turístic, CCOO – Comissions Obreres, IERMB – Institut d’Estudis Regionals i Metropolitans de Barcelona, COAC – Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya

HOW?

Scenario construction of the effects of short-term rental impacts on residential instability, and potential policy mitigators

  • Semi-structure group discussions
  • Thematic-Network Analysis
  • Policy rating exercises
  • Futures Cone
  • Machine Learning: Bayesian additive regression trees (BART)

Co-Design Process

EXPLORATION STAGE (12-14/7/2022)

  • Collective diagnosi of the impact of turism in the city.
  • Collective assessment of indicators of tourism-led gentrification at neightbourghood scale.
  • Mapping & diagnosis
  • List of key variables of change and impact & data gaps
  • Feedback neighbourhood change database
  • Inform statistical modelling

EVALUATION STAGE (5-7/10/2022)

  • Co-design of scenario building of tourism-led gentrification based on policy interventions and external factors.
  • Housing & tourism policy modelling fitness
  • Identification of impactful policy interventions
  • Key policy principles & approaches
  • Machine learning modelling (BART)

EVALUATION STAGE (8/2/2023)

  • Collective evaluation of scenarios based Machine Learning Modelling.
  • Participants feedback
  • Scenario evaluations and data appropriation
  • Feedbacks to modelling results
  • Key recommendations for policy-making

CITYLAB’S OUTPUTS

Mapping the risk of residential instability at fine area scale

Identification of policies with potential to mitigate residential instability

Modelling the sensitivity
of policies instruments

An OPEN ACCESS early-warning toolkit for tourism-driven residential exclusion in Barcelona

SMARTDEST Neighbourhood change database RStudio coding to replication and adaptation Tourist-driven displecement map Policy impact maps Policy brief on housing inclusión

OUTCOMES: INNOVATION AND LEGACY

LEGACY

Openly accessible tools, data and analytics to diagnose the risk of residential displacement driven by tourism growth in Barcelona and possibly design appropriate measures of tested value.

Benefits to end-users

  • Early-warning tools on tourism-driven residential instability
  • Open data access for research & other purposes
  • Benchmarking system for other cities with similar trends

FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES

“The need to control how tourism growth will affect social cohesion in the future will continue, and appropriate responses need to be craftly designed.  Recovery policies, regulations, and tourism planning and promotion strategies should be cognizant of the social risks unearthed and analysed in SMARTDEST. The construction of a Smart, Inclusive and Resilient Barcelona could scale up this project’s outcomes to nurture a new R&D agenda on residential instability and tourism.”


Antonio Paolo Russo,
IP SMARTDEST Project.

CITYLAB PARTICIPANT’S EVALUATION

Knowledge-sharing

Intellectually stimulating

Useful

Enjoyable

Participation

Representative and balanced

Proactive

Commitment of decision-makers

Organisation

Efficient, practical, informed

Productive collaboration