Zoran Roca (ed.) (2013): Second home tourism in Europe: lifestyle issues and policy responses

Mike Barke

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review


With 22 authors and co-authors contributing 13 different chapters on a dozen countries, this book amounts to an impressive ‘state of the art’ compendium of second home research in the European context. As the title suggests, its concerns are with issues of lifestyle, cultural change and leisure class mobility as well as planning and policy issues. It confirms that the study of second homes is no longer a peripheral topic with a narrow ‘tourism’ focus but goes right to the heart of current issues of socio-economic change in contemporary Europe. It also confirms the plurality of the topic of second homes as each of these studies adds something to our understanding of the diversity and complexity of the phenomenon. The grouping of the chapters is not entirely logical, however, as the first four chapters form Part 1 but the first two are essentially concerned with the economic impact of recession on second home owners in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain whilst the following pair is more concerned with the attachment of people to place—in Italy and Portugal. The heading for this first section, ‘Owning second homes: from transnational crisis to place attachment’, suggests a rather uncomfortable attempt to superimpose coherence on two very disparate areas of study. Part 2 is ostensibly focused on considerations of urban sprawl and the countryside idyll but the contributions within this section do rather more than that. Nefedova and Pallot’s study of the Russian Federation is very much rooted in the historical and cultural significance of the traditional dacha for all classes in society, whilst Müller’s chapter on Sweden questions the assumption that escaping from the ‘urban’ is a primary motive for second home ownership. Zaninetti provides a detailed account of the development of vacation homes in France before going on to examine some of the resulting social and environmental planning issues. The final chapter in this section also deals with these issues in the case of Finland. Part 3 has a clear policy focus although the authors adopt different approaches to their subject. The issues arising from recession in Greece within the context of failure to adopt appropriate legal measures is illustrated for a number of island developments. The main concern of the chapter on Portugal is with the policy implications of the connections between second home owners and tourists whilst Romita’s chapter on Italy stresses the unknown level of ‘private home tourism’ for vacation purposes and the problems this poses for effective policy intervention. The final chapter in this section examines the policy responses to the evolution of second homes from simple cabins to high status villas in Norway. In the final chapter Paul Claval presents a considerably more critical perspective on the phenomenon of second homes than many of his fellow contributors. New forms of social deprivation, extreme vulnerability to economic cycles, and negative landscape and environmental impact are identified as the main outcomes. This perspective is not one that is necessarily shared by all the essayists and so the conclusion reinforces the view that this book is very much a collection of different perspectives rather than an overall coherent statement on the topic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-744
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014


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