Tourism and Gentrification in Mexican Heritage Cities. Social Exclusion through Urban and Architectural Transformation in World Heritage Sites.
Numerous historic city centres in Latin America have been gentrified as the result of tourist activities. This is the case of several heritage Mexican cities that transformed their uses and spaces according to the consumption needs of visitors. This research explores this trend in two of its most complete manifestations: Lifestyle migration and luxury hotels as a tool in the transformation of the heritage of the city. Analysis of the cases of Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende (west central Mexico) reviews the main architectural and urban transformations derived from the gentrification of heritage tourist cities. The new tourist uses modify heritage and traditional typologies, giving rise to a façade-based architecture and exacerbate social exclusion and fragmentation processes in historic centres. Luxury tourism emerges as a contradictory transforming factor as it may threaten the natural, heritage and social resources that sustain this activity. In this context, the State, the market and a weak citizenship are deciding factors.