UDigiSH contributing an Impact Case Study to DARIAH ERIC

University students using WG digital platform in patio houses, Cordoba, Spain (2022).

International online audience engaging with WG experimental playful interface (2023).

Instituto Andaluz del Patrimonio Histórico retweeting about our WG activity in Cordoba.

We are proud and honoured to announce that the UDigiSH Working Group contributions and results since its establishment in 2019 were analysed and presented in an Impact Case Study for the DARIAH ERIC (more at https://www.dariah.eu/activities/impact-case-studies/a-dariah-impact-case-study-udigish-digital-practices-for-the-study-of-urban-heritage-is-cooperating-with-artists-and-ngos-to-crowdsource-local-knowledge-on-built-heritage-at-risk/).

Lead Authors: Georgios Artopoulos, Gaia Redaelli, Colter Wehmeier

Exploring AI in crowdsourcing tools of heritage valorisation

UDigiSH researcher Colter Wehmeier, with Georgios Artopoulos, explore the application of MidJourney AI image generator in visually communicating the environmental and cultural values of Patio houses, Cordoba, across different historical locations (e.g., Greece, Cyprus).

Their exploration involves the exchange and cross-pollination of locales and examples of tangible and immaterial heritage, e.g., Cypriot lacework.

Crowdsourcing knowledge about vernacular architecture and heritage that is threatened

UdigiSH developed online browser-based ethnographic survey tool for engaging new audiences in dialogue about heritage (https://dariahcloud.web.illinois.edu/cordoba/map/). This online database that is available to the community for study of historic cities enables non-experts as well as scholars to collect ethnographic data from the field.

In our attempt to expand the audience of our research, we developed Cordoba Court, a playful interface and an experimental social game that aims to reach individuals internationally to engage them in raising awareness about patio housing and its cultural heritage in a virtual space, mirroring community greening and habitation practices.

International online audience engaging with WG experimental playful interface (2023).

UDigisH and Urban PERIsCOPE presented in Keynote at The 4th workshop on Structuring and Understanding of Multimedia heritAge Contents (SUMAC), co-located with ACM MULTIMEDIA 2022, 10 October 2022, Lisbon, Portugal

Historic clusters of heritage buildings comprise the core of a great number of European cities and represent the fabric based on which today’s municipalities have developed historically. The sustainable development of these environments is often threatened by urbanization, gentrification or depopulation phenomena. These urban environments should not be studied and analysed as static formations disconnected from the contemporary fabric of a city, but rather as an assemblage of tangible and intangible assets subjected to dynamic pressures of economic, environmental, and social activities. The cross-disciplinary nature of the pressing challenges posed by said phenomena requires the development of novel data-driven methods for the re-use, regeneration and safeguarding of neglected areas of our cities’ existing building stock. The presentation will discuss about the methodological and technical framework required for the creation of a platform that will function as a time machine of our cities in the future. A time machine that does not aim only at representing how our cities used to be in the past, but rather one that curates and stores current transformations of our built environment, with the objective to enable dynamic observation of the existing building stock at neighborhood scale in present and future times. In this context, the presentation will be occupied with the significance of bringing the building scale (architectural) data together with neighbourhood scale (environmental) data in the same digital environment to enable deeper and cross-disciplinary insights of built heritage assets’ conditions. This data-driven study is enabled by the use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools for the common management of multi-scale and multi-discipline datasets generated by the 3D documentation, non-destructive testing and metadata integration of conservation state analyses and historic architecture information of building assets. Finally the presentation will offer a description of the requirements for integrating these datasets in online repositories for the open access of the public and relevant stakeholders to spatial data analytics that can be used for territorial planning, energy monitoring, educational purposes and smart historic city applications.


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Urban PERIsCOPE presented at the ERASMUS+ HERSUS workshop


Sustainability principles underline the importance of the continuous use of historic or vernacular buildings as part of the building stock of our cities. In an era of rapid technological improvements, state-of-the-art methodologies and tools dedicated to the protection and promotion of our cultural heritage should be developed and extensively employed in the built environment. The presentation offered considerations about the value of the digitisation of the heritage renovation process today, and discussed the potential impact of novel data integration methods and workflows to the practice. This was presented through preliminary results of ongoing research and results of the project “Portal for heritage buildings integration into the contemporary built environment” (PERIsCOPE), which is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Cyprus.

In this session we presented research about integrating ‘as is’ architectural information of heritage buildings, historical, as well as construction details with conservation studies and large scale environmental analysis data, in order to bridge the three scales of building information (i.e., construction, architecture, urban) and enable the monitoring of historic clusters in contemporary cities. We argued that the adoption of a holistic, integrated, multi-disciplinary strategy can bridge technological innovation with the conservation and restoration of heritage buildings. This research is enabled by an innovative online platform for the identification, classification, documentation and renovation of heritage buildings which can be exploited by a variety of stakeholders related to the conservation and retrofit activities. This digital platform relies on state-of-the-art techniques in the scientific fields of Building Information Modelling, remote sensing, terrestrial and aerial 3D modelling techniques, and non-destructive onsite testing. Overall, this research responds to the need for storing, accessing, analysing, and updating heterogeneous data of heritage buildings, which currently, are found in unstructured data repositories of in scattered, inaccessible databases.


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Urban PERIsCOPE featured in ERASMUS+ Smart Rehabilitation MOOC database

“Enabling data-driven, multi-scale and multi-modal studies of the historic urban environment.” Presentation by George Artopoulos, Assistant Professor, Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center (STARC), The Cyprus Institute This presentation is part of the educational content of Module 2: “Tools & methods for environmental assessment”, of the MOOC (Massive Online Course) “CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE”. The course is prepared by the Department of Architecture of the University of Cyprus; offered n the framework of the Erasmus Plus program Smart rehabilitation 3.0.

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UDigiSH WG contributes to DARIAH Campus

DARIAH Campus now features contributions from our WG workshop that took place in Palermo, Italy in July 2021, and was conducted with support from the DARIAH WG Grant 2019-20. Students, researchers and educators can access training material, PDFs, lectures and visual content developed for the workshop with the title “Use of ICT for community building actions towards the reactivation of urban heritagescapes in south European cities” at: https://campus.dariah.eu/resource/events/use-of-ict-for-community-building-actions-towards-the-reactivation-of-urban-heritagescapes-in-south-european-cities

UDigiSH WG workshop 2022

Following the successful implementation of our WG workshop in 2021 at Palermo, Italy (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4302146), we started planning for this year’s event, which was granted support from DARIAH ERIC (through the DARIAH WG Grants 2022 Call).

The 2022 version of our workshop will take place this October in two locations in consecutive dates; first, we will be visiting the narrow streets of Cordoba, Spain, to study the highly valuable heritage of the patio houses, where the PAX collective (http://patiosaxerquia.org/) will help us delve into the significance of local solutions to climate adaptation, as developed through the centuries by vernacular architecture in Mediterranean cities; next, we will be crossing the border to visit the primordial site and medieval coastal town of Lourinhã in Portugal, to discuss about new opportunities for public space regeneration by means of the use of ICT tools for community building and bottom-up, participatory, city planning methods, inspired by the route of the Limestone. We are looking forward to collaborating with the local municipalities and stakeholders, with the support of Lusófona University and LNEC – Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil.

Workshop in Palermo

The DARIAH ERIC Working Group on “Digital Practices for the Study of Urban Heritage” is organising a two-day public space co-creation workshop with the title “Everyday experiences and heritage in south European cities: Digital tools and practices” to be held at Cantieri Culturali della Zisa, Palermo, on 26-27 July 2021.

Challenged by urbanization, economy, gentrification, migration, and climate change the experience of historical spaces and buildings is fragmented, thus mirroring the disconnected perception of urban societies. The workshop will study how urban heritage and the abundance of culturally valuable structures and buildings in specific historic cities across Europe which are challenged by current pressing conditions can contribute to reflective processes and the creation of legible, inclusive, accessible, resilient and enjoyable cities. Its overarching objective is to:

  • Enable cultural bearers & inhabitants to engage with the past and future conditions of common pool resources; and
  • Infer meaning and socio-cultural features of space from data.

Data collection will be facilitated with the use of citizen volunteered geolocation software (readily available to the participants by the organisers), such as DEUSTO Tech DARIAH app and WIKAR AR app (https://wikar.co/).

The workshop aims to offer to authorities and policy makers of the city opportunities for data-driven consultation actions that will engage:

  • Cultural Heritage institutions;
  • Scholars and researchers in Digital Humanities;
  • City stakeholders;
  • Professional associations;
  • Urban communities and citizen groups.

Relevant fields to be addressed: architecture, participatory planning, built heritage, policy making, co-design, heritage valorisation and sustainable heritage, software engineering, GIS, Augmented Reality, art practices, city stakeholders and users (residents and city inhabitants).


Georgios Artopoulos, Fabio M Montagnino, Carlos Smaniotto Costa, Gaia Redaelli, Alfonso Bahillo, Jürgen F. Weishäupl, Colter Wehmeier.


Limited places available in the workshop. Please send a 200 word statement and your CV at: george.artopoulos@gmail.com

The results of the selection process will be announced on 16 July 2021.


This work has been supported by the DARIAH ERIC.


Advanced Visualisation Lab, of the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Cyprus Institute

DARIAH uDIGISH Working Group


INSULA ass. cult.


ART Festival Palermo

With the contribution of:

Austrian Ministry of Culture

Region Sicily 

City of Palermo

Research from CyI’s Virtual Environments Lab Selected Among the Best International Practices of Public Space Co-Creation

Research on the use of interactive spatial data visualization for stakeholder engagement in public space co-creation and co-management of historic sites that also formed the main enquiry which led to the creation of the DARIAH Working Group UDigiSH, developed by CyI’s Virtual Environments Lab and led by Assist. Professor G. Artopoulos, was selected as one of the two best projects in the Open Call of Public Play Space Initiatives. The State of the Art Catalogue collects and analyses 30 best-practice case studies, offering an international panorama of the emerging methodologies and strategies for the public space co-design through digital technologies. The best practices featured in the Catalogue were first selected from the results of an International Open Call launched in December 2019, and later evaluated for the announcement of the two winning methodologies.

This research proposes a methodology for the cross-disciplinary study and analysis of complex urban realities, such as historic Mediterranean cities, with the use of advanced digital tools for the creation and development of real-time virtual environments for research and collaboration that capture data of users’ behaviour in space. The objective of this research is a digital platform, which through immersion, urban data modeling and interactive visualisation enables the evaluation of alternative planning scenarios and design interventions in the context of the management plan of open public spaces that used to be popular within the urban fabric of European cities, but are now forgotten or in limbo due to political, economic, or social pressures. The Virtual Environments Lab’s research on the reintegration of the archaeological site of the Pafos Gate, located in the moat of the medieval walls of Nicosia, in the network of public spaces of the contemporary city, was developed in the context of the COST Action TU1306, with the support of the Department of Antiquities, Nicosia Municipality, and in collaboration with NCSA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The methods and tools that the UDigiSH WG is currently developing build on the solid foundation of this methodology.

Public Play Space (PPS) is a project co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union whose main goal is to foster the co-production of inclusive, cohesive and sustainable public space. The project aims to establish a transdisciplinary platform to explore how play and gamification tools in combination with advanced digital technologies can be used to foster the process of public space co-design and place-making, enhancing the understanding of the relationship between the space and its users.

PG render VELab CYI

New UDigiSH tool is published to support innovative participatory practices for urban transitions

UDigiSH Working Group operates within the cross-disciplinary area as defined by the nature of the pressing challenges that our historic cities are facing (e.g., climate, gentrification, decay, migration, etc.). The objective of this study is to better understand how built heritage contributes to the development of resilient cities, focusing on new ways to transform neglected urban spaces and neighbourhoods in second- and third-tier European historic cities in the Mediterranean territory. Our Working Group is pleased to announce that the group of Mobility at DeustoTech has kindly offered in kind contribution to DARIAH by means of several person months’ technical support to the WGs activities regarding the use of ICT and data-driven tools for community building around contemporary challenges of urban heritage and historic sites. Leveraging on the results of prior collaboration of WG members, applying good practices for sustainable futures, as discussed in Urban Living Labs by the community of JPI Urban Europe, and drawing on knowledge produced in the context of H2020 COST Action CyberParks, the team at DeustoTech developed a dedicated software tool for the needs of the WG. The mobile app, provisionally published under the name DARIAH app, is a digital research tool designed for community building through participatory design and co-creation methodologies which will allow the WG to work with local groups, and to study, discuss and analyse sites of interest in any city, that can be enacted today in many variable contexts with the help of smartphones. DARIAH app consists of an application (designed for Android) capable of collecting a variety of audio-visual, geolocative and textual materials. It functions as a unique support for innovative participatory practices for urban transitions, and enables individuals to:

  • create ‘proposals’ related to places of interest;
  • group in ‘projects’ relevant information about the transformation, preservation or renovation of a building, urban site, etc.;
  • create, automatically generate and upload linked data (and metadata) about the topic of interest, including textual sources, photographs, videos, 360 panoramas, 3D models; as well as,
  • tag digital assets with commentary, vote and exchange opinions and ideas about topics of interest.

In parallel, the UDigiSH Working Group in collaboration with the Advanced Visualisation Laboratory, at NCSA, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, with the support of Professor D. Cox, and Colter Wehmeier, Kajetan Haas and AJ Christensen, is developing experimental tools, scripts and workflows for the visualisation of 3D spatialised urban datasets in Augmented Reality, to be accessible through mobile devices. This collaboration was pursued in the context of the research activity of RIVEEL3D. These integrated data interaction and visualisation workflows have great potential in archaeological and cultural heritage applications for the stakeholder engagement in the management of heritage sites, as well as the immersion of the public in the history of cultural places and landscapes, for educational purposes. Provisionally published under the name WIKAR app is a mobile app for the visualisation, geolocation of and interaction with 3D models of objects (e.g., a monument, a building, a square, urban furniture) that are manually modelled or photogrammetrically documented, through Augmented Reality (AR). Currently it functions as a complementary AR enabled tool to the DARIAH app that allows its users to visualise 3D digital assets linked to a topic of interest in the real world, facilitating interpretation of information and staging dialogue between the many stakeholders of urban spaces and the city administration. The overarching objective of this effort is to develop and propose an inclusive and open data-driven participatory methodology for the sustainable management, reactivation and reintegration of historic sites and open air spaces of our cities into the contemporary lives of their inhabitants.

Using the Wikar DARIAH app in Palermo, Sicily, to virtually position the 3D model of an important local art object (‘Acqua Passata’, part of the EU project ‘Snapshots from the Borders’) at the industrial heritage site of Fabrica Ducrot (1890- 1968), by means of Augmented Reality.

Data-Driven Processes in Participatory Urbanism: The “Smartness” of Historical Cities

Delighted to have our article published on Architecture and Culture Journal (Taylor & Francis). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20507828.2019.1631061



Cities have always been arenas wherein social, ethnic and cultural differences lead to social friction. People from various cultures meet in spatial interfaces and this interaction, besides intensifying their awareness of diversity, imposes the integration of existing and newly brought cultural expressions with distinct socio-spatial and historical references. This article reflects on the resilience of smart systems promoted today for user-personalization when interacting with, and in the efficient operation of, city infrastructures. Specifically, the article addresses the capacity of smart digital tools and participatory processes to stimulate city data interpretation, interoperability and sharing processes as another commons of the city. The article foregrounds user-driven co-creation methodologies and information and communications technologies tools that enable adaptive and flexible, cross-cultural, data interpretation by communities that appropriate public spaces. Digital technologies can act as a catalyst for engaging people with their urban environment and cultures, and therefore with urban commons.

Keywords: built heritageurban commonscitizen engagementco-managementdata analyticsvisualization

Digital Practices for the Study of Urban Heritage Working Group receives DARIAH WG Funding

‘Everyday experiences and heritage in south European cities: Digital tools and practices’ regards the organisation of a workshop in the context of the planned activities of our WG. The workshop will enable us to strengthen links with the community (incl. scholars, researchers and local authorities), to collect content to be analysed with the methods developed by the WG members, as well as to test and collect feedback about a new software tool we are developing. The latter is necessary for the development of the digital tool, which will be later on offered to the DARIAH community.

Le Officine Ducrot

The project is about the organisation of an intensive hands-on workshop for community building through participatory design and co-creation methodologies which will allow the WG to work with local groups and intereated in the topic researchers, and to study, discuss and analyse sites of interest in the city of Palermo (Italy).

Challenged by urbanization, economy, gentrification and migration the experience of historical spaces and buildings is fragmented, thus mirroring the disconnected perception of urban societies. The workshop will study how urban heritage and the abundance of culturally valuable structures and buildings in specific historic cities across Europe which are challenged by current pressing conditions can contribute to reflective processes and the creation of legible, inclusive, accessible and enjoyable cities. Its overarching objective is to:

  • Enable cultural bearers & inhabitants to engage with the past and future conditions of common pool resources; and
  • Infer meaning and socio-cultural features of space from data.

Data collection will be facilitated with the use of citizen volunteered geolocation software (readily available to the WG by its partners), such as WAY Cyberparks, Ethnoally, and Aperire. In addition to these softwares, a new digital tool supporting co-design of urban spaces (currently under development) will be tested and evaluated by the participants under real-world conditions provided in the workshop. Feedback collected will enable the completion of the tool which will thus be adjusted to the need of scholars and researchers from the humanities. Training material will be generated, documented shared through the DARIAH services.

The workshop will aim to engage:

  • Cultural Heritage institutions;
  • Scholars and researchers in Digital Humanities;
  • City stakeholders;
  • Professional associations;
  • Urban communities and citizen groups.

Relevant EU research activities

PUblic REnaissance: Urban Cultures of Public Space between Early Modern Europe and the Present (PURE)


en/counter/points: (re)negotiating belonging through culture and contact in public space and place


Negotiating diversity in Expanded European Public Spaces



RESIN.eu & Tools http://www.resin-cities.eu/resources/tools/


3S RECIPE: Smart Shrinkage Solutions – Fostering Resilient Cities in Inner Peripheries of Europe


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