"Although the built environment and its meaning are constantly changing, the introduction of touristic enterprises into relatively stable, so-called "traditional" communities significantly influences values given to the material environment and local identities. This paper examines the metamorphosis in the concept of self and community identity expressed by residents in home design and renovations in a rapidly changing rural southern Portuguese agrotown. It argues that meaning attributed to the physical character of built forms shifts under tourism through the commoditization of material culture to an increasingly invented representation of an hypothesized scenario of people and events. In staging authenticity and marketing its consumption to a broader "community" (Hobsbawm and Ranger; MacCannell), touristic enterprises introduce into local communities "design self-consciousness,' which produces a sense of anonymity in idealized social relations along with increased legibility in the built environment. The physical environment thus becomes a major vehicle for communicating meaning independent of actual persons or events. The setting for the study is a small agricultural town in southern Portugal which boasts a 12th century castle and fine medieval buildings and old homes clustered around a defensible hilltop. Although the town had been a center of governmental and cultural activity until the turn of the last century, at the end of the second world war the economic and demographic character of the town began to change dramatically. As agricultural production declined, migration of workers to larger cities around Lisbon depleted the local population leaving behind many elderly and retired folks. Recently,. increasing employment opportunities and the construction of new housing near the town center has drawn the remaining younger population away from the oldest part of the community, leaving behind the elderly and an active group of outsiders interested in touristic development. A kind of conversion of the local residents by the outsiders has begun to take place. The focus of the conversion centers on arguments between outsiders and elderly residents to preserve or enhance the 'traditional character' of the old town through specific renovations. A case concerning the replacement of front doors is examined in some detail to reveal the variety of choices available to residents, each with its contrasting set of defining attributes and rational for adoption. While the strategy most consistent with traditional design decisions results in doors of aluminum, a material inconsistent with the older style of building construction, a design decision expressing the outsiders' new emphasis on the intrinsic value of the built environment results in an invented "tradition" of doors of wood, a material compatible with old house forms but a rationale which strains previous identities. The shifting meanings and relative value placed on the built environment is linked to a transformation in the concept of the self expressed in the home, an increasing sense of anonymity complemented by an invented sense of community."