The impact of 'Online Urban Heritage'

Briggate in Leeds 1990 and 2013
Tom Blackwell/ CC BY-NC 2.0

The main goal of the project 'Online Urban Heritage' by Dr. Arno van der Hoeven is developing knowledge on the different ways in which online media can foster public engagement with urban heritage. It studies how participatory heritage websites contribute to preserving the intangible heritage values associated with urban landscapes. Furthermore, this project aims to present a set of practical recommendations for people who want to start or further develop a participatory heritage website.

Photo: Tom Blackwell, Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Results of the research

As a result of this research, a set of recommendations was written for people who want to set up or further develop a participatory heritage website. These recommendations vary from a more strategic level to more practical recommendations for the design of a participatory heritage website. Would you like to gain more knowledge on this subject? Feel free to read the report in which all recommendations are discussed thoroughly.

Impact on society

On the Internet, we can find many initiatives focused on the heritage of cities. These vary from Facebook groups with a historic focus to local city blogs and memory websites. Furthermore, heritage organisations increasingly use online media to crowdsource material related to the urban past. Such participatory heritage websites give access to the past of cities and enhance the public’s engagement with urban heritage. Furthermore, the involvement of citizens in online heritage initiatives leads to a richer understanding of the urban past and the multiple histories of cities. The final report of this project discusses how these participatory heritage websites are used, examines their sociocultural impact, and explores under which conditions they work best.

Impact on the field of cultural heritage

This project examined how people value their historic urban landscapes through participatory heritage websites. These websites are online places where citizens actively contribute to the conservation of urban heritage. In 2011, UNESCO adopted the Recommendation on the Historic Urban landscape. In this new approach to urban heritage, there is a growing attention to the ways in which urban communities give shape to the historic layering of urban landscapes. Furthermore, this approach seeks to actively involve citizens in urban conservation. This research project demonstrated how participatory heritage websites can be used to achieve this objective. Furthermore, the project assessed what the content of these websites tells us about the ways in which people experience urban heritage in their everyday lives.

News about the project

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