Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Lori Brown, Associate Professor
Jean Francois Bedard, Associate Professor; Graduate Chair
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Architecture | Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis | Other Architecture
Guerrilla Tourism: Between the Resort and the Casa Particular The justification for guerrilla tourism in Havana draws from the political experiences of the urban guerrilla movements of the 1970s which transplanted rural guerrilla strategies to the city. The same basic rules continued to apply: a working knowledge of the terrain and local communities, an ability to strike and retreat quickly and a network form of military-political power. The anti-resort is a collection of micro-hotels in the city that rely on public support programs and fit within communities instead of dominating them. The current tourist infrastructure of Havana is socially unsustainable: foreign tourists have the choice of staying in high-rise hotels or invading Cubans’ spare rooms. Both options degrade the architectural/cultural life of the city, operating on inappropriate scales. The high-rise hotels turn their backs to the city and serve as a base for touristic exploitation. The casas particulares are pragmatic surrender of the domestic sphere/private life to the tourist gaze. While both systems deliver some benefit to the Cuban nation and Cubans involved in the tourism sector, they do not deliver to the community, a basic building block of Cuban socialism. Although 8.5 million out of a population of 11 million are politically organized on a neighborhood level, tourism remains an essentially top-down institution or a DIY project for Cubans with relatively nice homes. The urban guerrilla anti-resort mediates the problems of scale associated with each traditional model. Operating as a semi-formal network deployment, the anti-resort retains the efficiency of the high-rise hotel. Consequently, the infrastructure required for the upkeep of the formal antiresort will aid in urban development on a neighborhood scale. Deployed in the community, as opposed to against the community, the anti-resort returns a sense of privacy to Cuban families while promoting economic development and keeping tourist revenues within the community. Guerrilla tourism attacks the expressions of global capital in the form of the high-rise hotel and liberates the living room from touristic exploitation.
Kowalchuk, Michael, "Guerrilla Tourism|The Anti-Resort in Cuba" (2014). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 731.
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