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I have a bit of an extreme-anecdote about this from the late 90s. I had a friend who was working part-time as a tourist guide while studying international relations. He normally gave people an accurate description of things, but one day, IIRC on account of being frustrated with the tourism company that hired him, the described a nice downtown square as "This is Plaza <his name>, in honor of an important 19th century artist".
On the flipside, I live in a semi-touristic district myself, and I often find people taking pictures of some architectural detail, which in turns makes me look at it, and realized I had been walking by the place without really looking at it until then.
You can discover many interesting things you had no idea existed.
I did this in Montreal and discovered many little gems in the tourist area I had previously visited, including a lovely museum of the restored house of a 19th century politician. And I found many museums off the beaten track.
I also see tourists photographing my apartment building all the time. It's not really anything special to me, just an early 20th century walkup with a brick facade on a street of similar buildings. But I guess I'm numb to the charm of it because tourists seem to love it.
The tour guides are pretty funny too. I'm pretty sure at least half of what they say is completely made up.
He is a history buff, though, knowing "everything" about every king and fight the last centuries in Europe. So I think what he told would be plausible and rooted in truth. But makes me wonder about the stories he told me as a kid, before smart phones that could rebuff his tales.
I grew up hearing his descriptions on every conceivable historical event, and I was amazed of how much he seemed to know about everything. At the time I felt that he was truly knowledgeable, and I couldn't even conceive of knowing even a fraction of what he knew.
Then, when I grew older, I finally asked how he managed to know so much. His response? Laughingly, he told me that he made a lot of educated guesses on how things seemed to him!
That was a decisive formative experience for me: so that's how he pulled it off? Now I'm much more relaxed with the degree of detail I can know about things, and I also take what anyone is saying at any one moment with a saltier dose of skepticism. We're all humans after all, and telling tales is deeply rooted in our natures.
Now when I go home I see the city through new eyes and it really is a charming place. It feels like it would be a really nice place to live. When I did live there, I couldn't wait to leave.
I still have almost no interest in history, but after living in a bunch of different places I appreciate how Stratford is very clean and well maintained, has no visible homelessness, it is pedestrian and bicycle friendly, and has lots of interesting shops and restaurants. The people that live and work there are shockingly friendly, even by Canadian standards. When I lived there I had nothing to compare it to. I had to leave to find out how nice it really is.
Just in case people don't know, the Stratford Festival is pretty famous in Ontario, if not all across Canada, as a rather prominant Canadian arts event. It's certainly the main reason our school raised funds on occasion to visit during the festival. It was a big deal for us and we were only 2hrs away by bus.
Anyway, those maps could also be that way because locals try to avoid tourists. It's not a big deal where I currently live, but it is very annoying in Barcelona, Madrid, etc, that kind of places. Not only because touristy places become pricey or there's too many people, but because some tourists are... special.
Some years ago I tried to be a tourist in my own city and basically treated my weekends like going on a city break as a tourist (helped that it was a city of several million inhabitants and some centuries of history, so it had some potential). I discovered some really wonderful places, sometimes right next to the streets I drove on every day for work. That made a difference for me in how I looked at the city and made my life there just a bit more content.
I've done that accompanying friends around London. It's interesting, fun and I highly recommend it.
That said, implicit in some of the commentary is that tourists miss the local aspect of s city they visit by remaining in tourist areas. My take is that is the whole point of most tourism. They don’t want to see the same humdrum stuff they have in their home cities, they don’t need to know about boring shitty areas or family residential areas. No, they want some foreign entertainment and feel. They want some levity and some pop on their holidays.
LOVE statue in Philadelphia, 1978.
Spoonbridge and Cherry in Minneapolis, 1985.
Pork ‘n’ Beans in Seattle 2001.
Peanuts statues in Minneapolis/St. Paul, 2003.
Chicago Bean, 2004.
SF Hearts, 2004.
Lion statues at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1893
And now I live in San Francisco's North beach right near Pier 39, I'm surrounded by tourists. I do actually enjoy walking along the touristy area and seeing the sea lions on occasion, although the tourist prices for all the restaurants aren't great, and sometimes the crowds are very annoying if I'm just trying to get somewhere specific.
How do you know how other people perceive these things?
Maybe I’m looking at it through my own bent glasses. One example on my mind was a ‘thing’ right before my building. Imagine like a 2m tall painting in a thick wooden frame and a foundation to hold it, but there is no painting, as if someone cut it entirely. Like empty frame. People make self-shots sitting in it, and it has some plate with a description on it. But it was mounted only last winter. I’ll maybe check it next time, but my pragmatic side tells me that it’s yet another artistic catch for touristic attractiveness. I also know the guy in his 60s who spent his childhood there. The entire area was built and cultivated from scratch as a heritage corner by few powerful mosque rulers (locally famous people still lived there, no doubt, but that’s true for the entire old town).
I probably couldn't point out one interesting historic part of my own city if put on the spot, though I know they exist (while not as old or as large as SF, it's been around a while too).
A lot of tourists here in Memphis come to see Elvis Presley's house (Graceland), but many local residents have never been there, despite having some degree of connection to him. I met a couple from England on the street a few years back. They were eager to hear some stories about relatives and coworkers who met Elvis, but when asked about Graceland, I had to say 'Nope never been there'....
I work across from the famous Sugar Loaf mountain with the trolley between the mountains, maybe familiar to some from James Bond movies. It's really really really expensive to go there.
1. What outsiders think it's like
2. What they see when they encounter the city as tourists
3. What the city is like for a local
You'd say this is true for any city but Paris in particular has concentrated so many stereotypes together that it's almost comical to see people's attitudes yo-yo so dramatically in both directions.
I'd say similar things about Texas, DC, and NYC, for that matter.
Pointing out that they also sell red envelopes wasn't much of a consolation.
> Out of the million or so Japanese tourists that visit Paris each year, about 12 will fall prey to Paris syndrome.
They didn’t understand when I said it was probably the point. We fought against a British monarch, why would we build massive palaces for our non-monarch president? They said look all the power is in Congress their buildings are much bigger.
While the Capitol dome theory is a myth, the maximum height allowed for building is set by law. It was due to safety concerns about then very new skyscrapers, but at the same time, the limit has persisted long after.
The red spot on the bottom left is Palace of Versailles(specifically the cross-shaped Grand Canal in red and the surrounding gardens)
Google Flu Trends was also a hot topic around the same time although that turned out to be a lot less effective than it initially appeared.
I'm sure a dataset more recent than 2010 would amplify this further.
It should be purple on the map if the data is more recent.
In London in particular, it is hard, if not impossible, to find a consistently decent area that would appear safe to bring up kids in within cycling commute of the City. There does not seem to be any objective reason for that, so it seems to be a policy decision.
Make no mistake: this sucks. But it isn't "anti-natalism". It's om-nom-nom capitalism. The fix is deeper than whether or not planners like families with kids or not: it's a rethinking of how we allocate resources. And that's a hard conversation to have.
I am not sure. If I want to live without a child, I would probably not spend money on a second bedroom. I would prefer the space below my building to be a gym rather than a daycare. I will care more about good bars than good schools and parks.
> Families are and are permanently expensive in post-industrial society
There is also a chicken and egg problem: the fact that new developments target childless people is one of the reasons raising a child is expensive. It might actually be one of the biggest reason in London considering how much people are spending on housing.
I would. I've rented 2BRs my entire adult life. I needed an office--that room's for work (even if that work is my side projects or whatever), the rest of the house is for living. We bought a 3BR and collapsed a wall to make it a 2BR. One bedroom and one (very large) office.
> There is also a chicken and egg problem: the fact that new developments target childless people is one of the reasons raising a child is expensive.
New developments mostly target people with disposable income. That rules out most families.
I am, to be clear, in favor of subsidies and policies to encourage urban families; I think having kids in neighborhoods is a good thing for the neighborhood as a whole. But you're ascribing intent where none seems to exist.
I can say that for certain I avoid the tourist things in my home city and my current adopted home city. I cannot remember the last time i was near them, actually.
I think there is more than a reason. Some are legitimately full of history or interest, like the Tower of London. Some might only appeal to a niche group of people whether you're a local or just visiting (As a fan of the Blues Brothers, I had to stop by the honorable Richard J. Daley Plaza in Chicago just to see where they got that Picasso). Some just have good marketing that the locals are in a better position to see through.
In my native city: Times Square is to be avoided at all costs; the Met is worth going to.
Assisi was home to St.Francis, one of the most popular saints in Christianity, and it's a tiny village (5,000 residents) with >1.3M people visiting it every year, mostly for religious reasons.
Growing up there was really a unique experience in that regard, especially when tourism is such an important share of the local economy.
I met so many people from abroad, and befriended so many, over the years, and at the same time I almost took it for granted.
I think my mind benefited from this great influx of foreigners.
And holy shit I really did do a favor for my friend when I went down to the French Quarter, met up with her, and took her to City Park instead of another day of scheduled tourist activities; there are no red dots up there.
But yeah the sculpture garden is awesome, I love going there and sitting in the quiet little grove around *A Battle: For The Resistance Fighters”. Or chilling on a shady bench with the laptop getting shit done. You could probably see it on a modern version of this map.
+1 for calling it Shea, not Citi Field.
Of course in suburban areas that's about it 99% of the time.
Philadelphia Tourist: The Rocky steps.