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Maria Månsson


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Place-making of resilience in urban regions in the aftermath of Covid-19


  • Jörgen Eksell
  • Maria Månsson

Summary, in English

The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed travel patterns to and in major urban regions. Destinations have seen a dramatic shift from overtourism to undertourism. This has led to new challenges for regional destination management organisations (DMOs) as tourists and residents seek green areas in cities and visit adjacent natural reserves. Therefore this research explores how the Covid-19 pandemic has reconceptualised the relationship between the urban and rural in densely populated regions. In particular the paper discusses the relationship between media narratives, tourism flows, and place-making, and the implications for resilience in urban regions.

This paper departs from theories of geography of communication (GoC). Media and communication scholars have this far been largely absent from resilience theorising and research (Houston et al., 2015). GoC explores the interconnectedness of media and space and has evolved as a result of the spatial turn (see Warf & Arias, 2009; Adams & Jansson, 2012). In addition, this paper introduces place-making of tourists, i.e. the organic and unplanned behaviour and actions of individuals (Lew, 2017) to further emphasize the consequences for resilience in regions. Place-making is generally separated from placemaking which imply a top-down plan and design of places reflecting norms and political structures of the community (Lew, 2017).

The data consists of interviews with relevant stakeholders (DMO representatives and managers of nature reserves and tourist attractions) and online news media texts on the region Scania, Sweden. The region offers cities such as Malmoe and Lund, small towns and rural landscapes with a large number of national parks and reserves. A paradigmatic analysis of narratives that locate common themes or conceptual manifestations was conducted on the collected data (cf. Polkinghorne 1995). The reason is that narratives turn information and events into something that seems to be naturally occurring and meaningful to those encountering the narratives.

The analysis reveals an intimate relationship between resilience in places and media narratives, and how the latter transform both conceptions of urban and rural places and place-making. During the pandemic, green and rural areas as well as natural reserves are contrived as places of physical distance. The latter is commonly understood as safe places and in consequence, new tourist groups have travelled to these areas. Tourists have performed place-making such as hiking and cycling on trails, but also set up fires in undesignated areas, and littered in reserves. To cope with the surge of tourists, site management of reserves has introduced new placemaking regimes such as parking services etc. The pandemic has changed the place-making of tourists, which in turn has affected the resilience of the places. The study points to a need for regional DMOs to not only develop placemaking in these areas, but also develop a GoC approach to place-making of tourists. The GoC-perspective advances an interdisciplinary approach to resilience in places that reveals how both place-making and the constitution of resilience in tourism places are molded by the politics by media and communication practices of a number of stakeholders.

Adams, P. C. & Jansson, A. (2012) Communication Geography: A Bridge Between Disciplines. Communication Theory, 22(3), 299–318.

Berbés-Blázquez, M. & Scott, D. (2017) The Development of Resilience Thinking. In Butler, R. W. (Ed.), Tourism and resilience: 9-22. Allingford, Oxfordshire: CABI.

Butler, R. (Ed) (2017) Tourism and resilience. Allingford: CABI.

Houston, J. B., Spialek, m. L., Cox, J., Greenwood, M. M., & First, J. (2015). The Centrality of Communication and Media in Fostering Community Resilience: A Framework for Assessment and Intervention, American Behavioural Scientist, 59 (2): 270-283

Lew A. A. (2017). Tourism planning and place making: place-making or placemaking? Tourism Geographies. 2017;19(3):448-466.

Warf, B. & Arias, S. (2009). The Reinsertion of space in social sciences and humanities. In B.Warf, & S. Arias (Eds). The spatial turn: interdisciplinary perspectives: 1-10. London: Routledge.


  • Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation






Konferensbidrag: abstract


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Place-making
  • Resilience
  • Geography of communication
  • narratives
  • Regions
  • Scania
  • Covid-19

Conference name

Regions in Recovery

Conference date

2021-06-02 - 2021-06-16




  • Resilient destination development in the wake of COVID-19
  • Rethinking urban tourism development: Dealing with sustainability in the age of over-tourism