Ghetto tourism

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Signed street graffiti awaits urban tourists in Montreal.

Ghetto tourism refers to the growing popularity of tourism in ghettos.


Ghetto tourism was first studied in 2005 by Michael Stephens[disambiguation needed] in the cultural-criticism journal, PopMatters. Ghetto tourism includes all forms of entertainment — gangsta rap, video games, movies, TV, and other forms that allow consumers to traffic in the inner city without leaving home.[1][2]

As Stevens says, "digital media achieves more detailed simulations of reality. The quest for thrills mutates into a desire, not just to see bigger and better explosions, but to cross class and racial boundaries and experience other lifestyles." International tourists to New York City in the 1980s led to a successful tourism boom in Harlem. By 2002, Philadelphia began offering tours of blighted inner-city neighborhoods. After Hurricane Katrina, tours were offered in flood-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward, a notoriously violent and poor section of New Orleans.[1]

Musical influence[edit]

With respect to the vast historic references to landmarks, neighborhoods and streetscape within music, ghetto or "urban tourism" often encompasses travel to destinations made famous by direct or indirect mention by popular artists. Travel to certain parts of Detroit that include 8 Mile Road, known for the role the travel route played in the similarly titled 8 Mile film starring Eminem, or to Crenshaw Boulevard in South Central Los Angeles, a metropolitan area that inspired an entire generation of pioneering musical influence, could potentially be included as urban tourism. The Jane-Finch area of Toronto, Canada is gaining notoriety as another area in transition.

Tours can be taken of the slums of Rio.

Graffiti travel[edit]

Artists have been featured in The Source magazine and some individuals travel to different urban settings to adapt and learn new graffiti styles.

Bus tours[edit]

In 2013 controversy arose when a company called "Real Bronx Tours" was discovered offering tours of The Bronx advertized as "a ride through a real New York City 'ghetto'...[the borough] was notorious for drugs, gangs, crime and murders." Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito condemned the tours stating "Using the Bronx to sell a so-called 'ghetto' experience to tourists is completely unacceptable and the highest insult to the communities we represent." The tours were soon discontinued.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Citypaper online". Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  2. ^ "XXL — Ghetto tourism". Retrieved 2007-11-10. 
  3. ^ 'Ghetto' tours of Bronx ended after outrage