Ephemeral City: Photos of Gentrification: Madrid and Valencia, Spain

Research output: Artistic and non-textual formDigital or Visual ProductsSolo art production




5th–23rd of March, 2019

Jonna Tolonen


It is estimated that in 2018 more than 82 million tourists arrived to Spain. Spain has been a prime example of transforming into an international travel destination since the 1960's. On yearly basis the Spanish state invests more than 90 million euros on marketing tourism.


Many Spanish cities have conducted intensive neoliberal urban policies in order to boost theuse of common space for tourism. This has meant more beds and entertainment for tourists. During the last few years permanent residents of cities started to get bored of the noise pollution (yelling, singing, fighting etc.) and hygiene standards (littering, peeing, vomiting etc.) of tourists. Many cities in Spain have now new policies which limit the construction of new hotels.


Few years back, wallwritings, posters and street art pieces against tourism and gentrification started to appear on the walls of Spanish streets. Walls became an alternative media, a tool for communication. This photo exhibition seeks to explore two Spanish cities in the midst of gentrification process. In Madrid, the neighbourhood of Lavapiés is being altered due to demands of tourism:traditional Spanish stores are turned into juice bars and barber shops. In Valencia, in the neighbourhood of El Cabanyal, old houses are demolished to make way for urban development, such as luxury hotels.


These images show the last moments of these places before they are transformed through the process of gentrification, and visualizes the tricky relationship between tourism and the permanent citizens. 

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2019
MoEC publication typeF1 Published independent work of art
EventEphemeral city. Photos of Gentrification - Madrid and Valencia, Spain
Duration: 5 Mar 201923 Mar 2019


  • gentrification
  • photography
  • Spain

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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