The Architekturzentrum Wien exhibition that celebrates its launch in Vienna next March is going on tour, with another venue in 2024 in the Salzkammergut European Capital of Culture.
Tourism has become an integral part of our Western lifestyle, and impacts significantly on the built environment, on social cohesion and on climate change. While travelling used to take days or weeks, involving effort and very high expenditure, it is now a fast and relatively cheap undertaking. Almost every corner of the planet can be reached in only a few hours — at least by a small portion of humanity. It is estimated that only 10%-20% of the world’s population travels regularly for leisure.
Tourism has been growing in intensity for decades, and has developed into a rapidly expanding commercial sector. It has brought prosperity even to the most remote of regions, thus preventing migration. However, tourism also stands for overcrowding, increasing land consumption, gross interventions into the environment, social inequality and the displacement of local residents through rising house prices and pushing up the cost of living. While tourism focuses on some places, others are being left behind. Municipalities are ambivalent: On the one hand they benefit from tourists, they are even dependent on them, while at the same time they become increasingly aware of the undesirable side effects of tourism.
The exhibition ‘Tourism’ engages with the social, spatial, environmental and economic aspects of tourism. The success story of tourism is addressed as well as issues relating to capacity constraints. What impact does our travel, holiday and leisure behaviour have on the environment, on local economic cycles and on the social fabric? How can we rethink tourism in times of climate crisis, of war, with the threat of further pandemics, a shortage of skilled workers and an ongoing energy crisis while steering tourism in other, more sustainable directions? What roles do spatial planning and architecture play here? How much rethinking and personal responsibility is required, but also what needs to be regulated, prohibited or banned outright? Successful local and international examples of tourism that no longer exclusively follow the mandate of growth present new ways of thinking and provide contributions to the central question of how we can envisage a tourism that no longer destroys what it lives from.
Curators: Karoline Mayer and Katharina Ritter, Az W
An exhibition by the Architekturzentrum Wien (20 March – 9 September 2024), from Autumn 2024 in the Salzkammergut European Capital of Culture.