The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) conference took place in London (UK) this year and there were a couple of great sessions that I had the pleasure to attend. The Overtourism in Urban Contexts and Hopes and Troubles of New Urban Tourism sessions in particular were of interest in light of my own research agenda. These sessions pushed forward some of the current pressing debates about the impact of tourism on European cities. The role that digital technologies and platforms play in this was further emphasized in presentations by Claire Colomb, Fabian Frenzel, Thomas Frisch, Albert Arias-Sans, Paola Minoia and Ebru Harman Aslan. Discussant Maria Gravari-Barbas provided a wonderful summary of the sessions. By ways of conclusion Gravari-Barbas emphasized the need for more research on the everyday lived experiences of those who have (involuntary) become part of the digitally-enabled tourism economies that shape the urban landscape in such impactful ways.
MQ colleague Claudio Minca delivers a presentation on ‘the Game’, a term used by refugees along the so-called Balkan Route to describe their attempts to informally cross the EU border. In dissecting the ambivalently playful connotations of this term Claudio reveals the troubling configurations of the EU border politics and of its formal and informal geopolitical arrangements.
MQ colleague Zahra Nasreen presents on the experiences of tenants finding shared housing in Sydney (Australia) using digital platforms. Zahra questions what the affordances of different platforms are, but also draws our attention to issues of overcrowding, discrimination and affordability. Follow Zahra on Twitter: @zahra_nasreen
MQ colleague Richard Carter-White delivers a stellar presentation in which he draws upon French philosopher Maurice Blanchot’s reading of the Eternal Return in the context of the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 and subsequent tsunami and nuclear disasters. Follow Richard on Twitter: @RichCarterWhite