Dutch research on tourism and gentrification

My name is Max Petit and I am a student from the NHTV University of applied science from Breda in the Netherlands. I am in Budapest from the end of August till December as an intern for Mindspace. My interests are in smart cities and global trends. Mindspace is perfect for this because they are in my eyes the smart city pioneers of Budapest. I wanted to contribute to this process with my knowledge and energy. For a lot of NGO’s such as Mindspace it is hard to gain knowledge and resources so I feel great to be here and to help.

Mindspace is concerned with the VIII District and focuses on local interventions but it is at least as important to widen the scope on bigger scales or other cities. During my internship here, I have attended multiple conferences and workshops with other NGO’s from Central and East Europe. It was very instructive to talk with these NGO’s and hear about the challenges they face. Almost all NGO’s are focussed on the small scale because they don’t have the man power to work on a bigger scale and they are emotionally attracted by a particular neighbourhood.

To understand processes and changes in your neighbourhood, it can be helpful to dive into these problems in order to change them in your own neighbourhood. As I was talking to other NGO’s and Mindspace itself, this is a view what they are aware of but are still lacking quality content. As a part of the shared cities project it was a challenge for Mindspace to create this content. The two processes and trends who influence District VIII are tourism and gentrification. It is often said that these processes undermine the local communities and are therefore not popular by for example Mindspace who are fighting for what these trends destroy. These processes are also happening in other cities were other NGO’s are operating in and are facing this. The two processes are very complex and are therefore very hard to understand and to deal with. I am researching these processes on how they work, how they influence Budapest and the District VIII and how to deal with them. It is important that this knowledge get shared with other NGO’s in Central and East Europe because there is not one theory for gentrification in Central and East Europe.

Gentrification is a process whereby local inhabitants get displaced because of increasing rental or property prices as a result of investments in the area. This can be cause by increasing popularity because of tourist visiting the place or a new middle class coming into the area. This new middle class and tourist have different lifestyles and demands, this will have great influence on the District. The research gives an insight in the causes and the effects of this complex process. The research will contain indicating interviews with people in the tourism world, observations and literature study. The result will be published and exhibited in spring 2018.

Text: Max Petit
Photo: Tutu (Flickr)
Published: 07.11.2017