Eu-funded H2020 Research Project

By Karthik Sridharan (Prague)

SMARTDEST has been an EU-funded H2020 research project that brought together 11 universities and 1 innovation center from seven European and Mediterranean countries. It has aimed to develop innovative solutions in the face of the conflicts and externalities produced by tourism-related mobilities in cities. SMARTDEST has informed the design of alternative policy options for creating more socially inclusive places in the age of mobilities.

The effects of overtourism on urban societies represent emerging fields of (re)production of social exclusion, that are not finding structural solutions in mainstream urban planning and management models. The smart city solutions of destinations are still to a larger extent to be proved how they represent an overall improvement for resident communities.

Over three years, from January 2020 to September 2023, the project fulfilled its ambitious objectives through extensive research and development activities involving eight cities/metropolitan regions. These cities, namely Amsterdam, Barcelona, Jerusalem, Venice, Lisbon, Ljubljana, and Turin, had experienced social imbalances in contemporary tourism mobilities. They actively sought solutions within planning, regulation, and social innovation.

Key Objectives & Activities of SMARTDEST

Examine, understand and translate into both theoretical frameworks and practical conversations, the processes through which tourism mobilities and mobile dwelling in all its diverse forms, contribute to urban transformation and social exclusion.

  • Research and report how tourism mobilities are (re)producing social imbalances, and how different governance structures, regulatory frameworks, and contextual factors may produce substantial variations on these effects, eliciting variegated place-based responses at multiple policy scales.

To contribute towards fundamental upgrades of European urban policy that are cognisant of the challenges presented by tourism and other associated mobilities for social inclusion and cohesion, by enabling innovative people-based and place-based solutions.

  • The project will scrutinise policy initiatives and community-powered responses to social exclusion and will organize 8 City Labs to identify innovative forms to tackle social exclusion and the policy and governance transitions that can maximise their impact. Finally, Rescale and Extend the insights and results by establishing a dialogue and an exchange of knowledge with policy entities, transnational civic networks, as well as innovators and academics throughout the EU space