A Sustainable Touristic Place in Times of Crisis? The Case of Empuriabrava—A Superdiverse Mediterranean Resort

Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)


Empuriabrava is a cosmopolitan neighborhood located in Costa Brava and one of the world’s largest residential marinas. About sixty-five percent of Empuriabrava’s population are foreign residents from dozens of nationalities. Their profile constitutes an intersection of religions, languages, socio-economic statuses, and migratory histories. Previous research rooted in conflict and contact theories as well as studies based on the superdiversity paradigm underscored the contradictory effect that diversity may have on the sustainable development of local communities. This paper analyzes Empuriabrava’s population daily life and community sustainability. The analysis is based on interviews with local key informants, both natives and immigrants, as well as analysis of statistical and documental sources. The results suggest that while superdiversity provides vast possibilities to empower sustainable development, a perceived lack of local authorities’ involvement diminishes this positive effect. The economic downturn has been observed as enhancing conflict and limiting collaborative initiatives. However, the efficient management of superdiversity in tourism–oriented neighborhoods has been found to be a key asset, which may help to experience rejuvenation instead of decline in the resort life cycle model. In this sense, this paper shows practical sustainability lessons to be learnt from Empuriabrava recent history and present situation.


Sustainability Diversity Crisis Resort Immigration Spain 



The research project upon which this paper is based was mainly funded by the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation, ref. CSO2009-13909. The authors would like to thank Sarah Ward, Research Assistant in the Disaster Studies program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, for her assistance in formatting of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of Texas Rio Grande ValleyBrownsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyAutonomous University of Barcelona/Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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