Three out-of-work architects from the city of Porto, Portugal have started leading tourists on what they call "The Worst Tours." The (free) excursions take visitors through parts of the city not usually seen by outsiders, introducing them to ruined buildings, tunnels covered in graffiti, and—eesh, still occupied—historic project housing. The tours began as a reaction to the crushing austerity program that Portugal is experiencing, but have also tapped into a cultural fascination with ruins and abandoned buildings. The aim is to show the "big picture" of Porto, both the good and the bad, and the tours include "architecture, politics, alleys, tiny associations, abandoned buildings, and great discussions on very partial points of view," according to the tour company's website.
Four different tours are offered, including an "occupation tour" (Description: "Are occupations a way out in a city where there are so many empty buildings, and so many people without a home?") and an "Islands tour," which, somewhat problematically, takes tourists through the city's project housing, where around eight percent of Porto's population lives. "The tours are about two to three hours, each. We'll probably get lost (which, in Porto, requires some imagination) and we won't know everything," the website explains. It seems more intellectual than what would associate with slum tourism fare, but, still, it's a fine fine line between introducing new cultures and, well, expensive hotels made to look like shanty towns.
· The Worst Tours [Official site]
· Take A Free Tour of Run-Down Portugal [Messy Nessy Chic]
· All Abandonment Issues posts [Curbed National]