Orlando Deavila Pertuz
City of Rights-City of Patrimony: Tourism Development, Popular Politics, and Race in the Remaking of Cartagena, Colombia, 1957-1984
My research examines the remaking of Cartagena as a tourist destination following the mid-twentieth century, particularly, at how tourism development triggered changes in the use of urban space and the social geography. Since the 1960s, the national and municipal governments funded initiatives to restore the colonial walled city and turn it into the backbone of the local experiment of heritage tourism. As the city center became a historical district, certain uses and socio-economic practices –such as low-income housing, street vending, wholesale trade, etc., were prohibited or discouraged by zoning regulations as they were thought to disrupt the colonial landscape. New regulations and projects of urban renewal also led to the clearance of lower-class neighborhoods in areas targeted by tourism development. These neighborhoods were largely inhabited by black people. Thus, intellectuals, journalists, politicians, and everyday people interpreted these changes from a racial perspective, indicating they widened the gap between whites and blacks in a city already divided along racial lines. My research analyzes how in the midst of the city’s remaking, class, race, gender, and spatial structures came together to forge locals’ identities, and became instrumental for them to make sense of this moment of urban change.