thurs 27 may 2021


Tourism Development and Local Resilience: Self-Organisation and Community Empowerment Perspectives


The research project presented here explores the connections between tourism development and resilience to disasters in tourist destinations presenting different manifestations of local empowerment, state regulation and local self-organisation. The project seeks to understand how policy-making should target tourism-resilience relationships to enhance tourism’s contribution to resilience-building and to address the instances in which tourism brings increased vulnerability. 

Tourism is highly significant to the Australian economy, representing about 11% of its GDP pre-COVID-19 (WTTC, 2019). Tourism can be profoundly effected by planning decisions while also influencing them. A comprehensive understanding of the tourism-resilience nexus is paramount to ensure planning processes targeting disaster risk reduction and local community resilience can benefit from tourism development. 


Managing connectivity is one of 7 principles for building resilience according to the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Findings from this project advance our understanding of the connections between urban and regional development by looking at tourism-driven connections, disconnections and reconnections.

A multiple case study approach informed the selection of two sites, where alternative self-government arrangements have been exercised and formally recognised for about 40 years – Christiania (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Norfolk Island (Australia). The sites are tourist destinations bearing distinctiveness in terms of clear boundaries while being subject to different degrees of state regulation.


The paper presented here will focus on the case of Christiania, highlighting instances in which spatial, digital and organisational connectivity interplay with social cohesion, attachment to place, local identity and local empowerment, in the context of tourism development and urban gentrification. 


Data collection involved desktop research and fieldwork for sourcing existing documents, semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders and direct observation of natural and built environment features in the context of applicable planning arrangements. 

Alan March

University of Melbourne

Dr Alan March is Professor in Urban Planning. He undertakes research and teaching in the area of urban planning and disaster risk reduction, including bushfire.
Alan was awarded the Planning Institute of Australia (Victoria) Cutting Edge Teaching and Learning prize in 2013 and was named Planner of the Year in 2016. In 2017 he received a National Planning Institute of Australia Commendation for Planner of the Year. He has practised since 1991 in a broad range of private sector and government settings and has had roles in statutory and strategic planning, advocacy, and urban design. Alan’s publications and research include examination of the practical governance mechanisms of planning and urban design, in particular the ways that planning systems can successfully manage change and transition as circumstances change. He is particularly interested in the ways that planning and design can modify disaster risks, and researches urban design principles for bushfire.

Leonardo Nogueira de Moraes

University of Melbourne

Leonardo Nogueira de Moraes is a Research Fellow in Resilience and Urban Planning at the University of Melbourne (Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning) and a researcher for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre – BNH-CRC. He also holds a position as a tenured lecturer for the Tourism Management Program of the Brazilian Federal Institute for Education, Science and Technology in São Paulo (Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia de São Paulo – IFSP). From November 2014 to February 2017, Leonardo was also Academic Director (Head of Department) for IT and Tourism for the São Paulo Campus of IFSP, overseeing 51 academics, four courses and about 1,000 students ranging from high school to masters level. From 2003 to 2008, Leonardo was a lead consultant at T4 Consultoria em Turismo Ltda for different tourism development and planning projects, including the Tourism Master Plans for the City of Paraty and the City Island of Ilhabela and the tourism development contract management support for the City Council of Rio de Janeiro for the 2007 Pan American Games. His background includes a Bachelor of Tourism (Development and Planning) degree and a Specialisation in Tourism and Hospitality Marketing Management from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. His PhD degree in Architecture and Planning (from the University of Melbourne) focused on the effects of tourism development and the implementation of protected areas on the resilience of small oceanic islands, from a social-ecological complex adaptive systems perspective. As part of his PhD, he was a visiting researcher at Lunds Universitet (Lund University Centre of Excellence for Integration of Social and Natural Dimensions of Sustainability – LUCID) in Sweden in 2011. His current research on Resilience and Urban Planning includes the effects of tourism development to local-community disaster resilience, developed with the aid of grounded theory methods, coupled with social media analysis and data visualisation using interactive timelines.