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Signed street graffiti awaits urban tourists in Montreal.

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



Michael Stephens first examined the subject in the cultural-criticism journal, PopMatters, in 2005. 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

With respect to the vast historic references to landmarks, neighborhoods and streetscapes 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.

Graffiti travel

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

See also


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