A contextual view on the role of contemporary architecture in urban tourism destinations: exploring why contemporary architecture is attracting tourism

Specht, Jan
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Architecture forms an inherent part of urban tourism. Nevertheless, so far little research has been carried out regarding the interdependencies between urban tourism and architecture in general, as well as contemporary architecture in particular. Furthermore, there is a lack of literature regarding the reasons for contemporary architecture attracting tourism. Therefore, the present thesis is based on two principle research questions: 1. What is the role of contemporary architecture in urban tourism destinations? 2. Why is contemporary architecture attracting tourism? Taking a twofold approach, the theoretical part of the thesis was based on a comprehensive literature review – including a wide variety of related disciplines – and dedicated to the first principle research question. Thus, by means of a contextual view, it was demonstrated that contemporary architecture can play a multitude of important roles in urban tourism, and contribute to the image of an urban destination. Devoted to the second principle research question, the empirical part of the thesis was built on exploratory case study research at the locations of Berlin and Beijing. First, by means of content analysis of travel guidebooks, for both case study locations a sample of contemporary architecture with significance for tourism has been identified. And secondly, for each of the samples’ units of analysis, a specific level of touristic significance, related to different roles (or types) of tourists, has been measured. Furthermore, specific features and characteristics, distinguishing the selected architectures, have been observed and allocated. Using univariate, bivariate and multivariate analysis techniques, during the ensuing data evaluation, those features and combinations of features with an influence on the touristic significance of contemporary architecture have been identified. As a result, around 50% of the analysed relations showed significant signs of dependency. Important modalities for the touristic significance of contemporary architecture turned out to be, for instance, having a touristic function, being accessible for visitors, being of large size and showing predominance towards the surrounding built environment. However, depending on the evaluated roles of tourists, the results differed. ​
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