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The digital cultural biography, a tool for interdisciplinary knowledge exchange on the history and heritage of the urban landscape

Maurice de Kleijn (Spatial Information Laboratory (SPINlab), Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Eduardo Dias (Spatial Information Laboratory (SPINlab), Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Gert-Jan Burgers (CLUE+ Research Institute for Culture, History and Heritage, Faculty of Humanities, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development

ISSN: 2044-1266

Article publication date: 16 May 2016

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the challenge for knowledge exchange between disciplines that study past urban landscapes, such as archaeologists, historians and historical geographers and disciplines that work on new urban landscapes such as architects and spatial planners. It presents the design, deployment and evaluation of a heritage instrument, the “digital cultural biography” (DCB), which aims to allow future-oriented disciplines to make more historical and heritage informed decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper makes three contributions. First it presents a methodology to disseminate geographic information across disciplines by applying the biography of the landscape research strategy. Second it translates this methodology to a digital instrument, the DCB, which makes it possible to configure the historical and heritage features diachronically as well as spatially. And third it evaluates the added value of this instrument by organizing a design concourse and applying various evaluation methods. The Roman neighbourhood of Testaccio functions as the use case for this study.

Findings

The research shows a high potential to use digital tooling based on geospatial technologies to support the dialogue between future and past-oriented disciplines.

Originality/value

The paper discusses how the recently developed biography of the landscape method can be used as a tool for collaboration between heritage managers and spatial planners. Moreover, for the first time it applies and evaluates digital tools and geospatial technologies to support this approach.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback. Furthermore the authors thank Renato Sebastiani (SSBAR) for his active contribution in developing and facilitating research strategies in the context of the Challening Testaccio research programme. From the faculty of architecture from the Roma Tre University. The authors thank Professor Fransesco Cellini, Professor Maya Segarra Lagunes, Laura Pujia and all the participating students. Also many thanks to the Jury: Anna Vos, Paolo Pineschi and Mario Lombardo. Additionally the authors thank the Royal Dutch Institute in Rome (KNIR) for hosting and subsidising the research. For the development of the app, the authors thank the Royal Dutch Airlines KLM for subsiding the development of the app and Chris van Aart for the actual development. For the collection and structuring of the data the authors thank Joris Jehle and Menje Almekinders. Finally, the authors want to thank their colleagues Niels van Manen, Jan Kolen, Ron Janssen and Henk Scholten for the development of the study and internally reviewing the paper. The other desgins from the competition can be found here: www.flickr.com/photos/89784880@N07/

Citation

de Kleijn, M., Dias, E. and Burgers, G.-J. (2016), "The digital cultural biography, a tool for interdisciplinary knowledge exchange on the history and heritage of the urban landscape", Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 72-94. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCHMSD-04-2015-0015

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited