The role of air in the sustainable development of urban destinations

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Title

Handbook on Sustainable Urban Tourism

First Page


Last Page



Edward Elgar Publishing


School of Business and Law




Li, M., Huang, S., & Chen, G. (2024). The role of air in the sustainable development of urban destinations. In C. Maxim, A. M. Morrison, J. Day & Coca-Stefaniak, J. A. (Eds.), Handbook on Sustainable Urban Tourism (pp. 206–216). Edward Elgar Publishing.


Air matters to all of us. It plays a significant role in constituting our being-in-the-world. In recent years, research in air has been gaining prominence in social sciences, perhaps, with the increasing and deteriorating environmental, social and political problems due to climate change across the globe. Nevertheless, the issues pertinent to air and their impact on urban tourism remain under-researched in tourism studies. In this chapter, we discuss the role of air in influencing the sustainable development of urban destinations, mainly from two perspectives – city dwellers’ wellbeing and tourist experiences. Air is long entangled with miscellaneous social, cultural, economic, and material configurations. It pervades almost every corner of our world, constituting and, at the same time, mirroring societal changes and inequalities in different eras. Since the nineteenth-century Western industrial revolution, air has been increasingly polluted, manipulated and commercialised, serving the benefits of the wealthy and privileged, while creating matters of life and death to the poor and the helpless. This divide has arguably reinforced social inequalities both within and among tourism cities. At the same time, tourist experiences and perceptions of urban destinations are affected to a varying degree, subject to the conditions of air and the smellscapes manufactured in urban environment. We conclude the chapter by providing several suggestions to deal with air pollution as a global issue.



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