In her influential book Uses of Heritage (2006), archaeologist Laurajane Smith introduced the term ‘authorized heritage discourse’ (AHD) to describe the western heritage practice which since the late nineteenth century has developed towards a dominant position as a ‘universalizing’ discourse of our own time, and “privileging monumentality and grand scale, innate artefact/site significance tied to time depth, scientific/aesthetic expert judgement, social consensus and nation building”.

Rather heritage can be seen as a process, a performance (Crouch, 2010), an act of communication (Dicks, 2000) and a set of relationships with the past undertaken at certain sites and places. In this sense, all heritage is intangible.

Spatial aspects of cultural heritage:

(1)Interrelatedness of places and people;

(2) Landscape and its composite ‘scapes’, e.g. urban heritage-scape;

(3) Interrelatedness of virtual and real space; and

(4) Fluid spaces emerging from growing mobility of individuals enabled by ICT.

Unplanned, half-finished structures that were built by necessity after the war of 1974 in the intra-muros historical city of Nicosia are appropriated by migrant communities (Nicosia, Cyprus 2019).


Crouch, David, “The Perpetual Performance and Emergence of Heritage”, in Waterton, E., Watson S. (eds.), Culture, Heritage and Representation. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010: 57–71.

Dicks, Bella, Heritage, Place and Community. University of Wales Press, 2000.

Smith, Laurajane, Uses of Heritage. New York: Routledge, 2006.


This blog will represent the entry point to approach the activities of the UDigiSH Working Group, which focuses on the study of Digital Methods and Good Practices of heritage and urban change, impact of urban development on cultural heritage, the identity of the city and the role of civil society.

Unlisted historic buildings and heritage are under threat in European cities, with direct impact to the cohesion of their communities and everyday lives of citizens. Challenged by urbanization, economic difficulties, gentrification and migration the experience of historic spaces and buildings is fragmented thus mirroring the disconnected perception of urban societies. The Digital practices for the Study of urban Heritage Working Group acknowledges both the urgency and the complexity of these challenges proposing a holistic and inclusive approach that can be applied to identify and tackle these socioeconomic and cultural issues.

The UDigiSH WG promotes the attribution of cultural values to built heritage, towards inclusive, innovative and reflective societies – for example, in conflict spaces the common past and heritage can be established as a bridge for peace. Responding to contemporary pressing challenges of urban environments can only be achieved through the transnational collaboration as the challenges are complex and ill-defined and thus cannot be dealt with at a local scale.

Blog topics:
Digital Humanities for the Study of Historic Cities
A Cloud for the Preservation of Cultural Rights
Promotion of Cultural Dialogue
GeoVisualisation of Urban Histories
Participatory Digital Narratives and Citizen Science in Cultural Heritage: co-creation and co-management of informal stories and memories

Cultural Heritage institutions
Scholars and researchers in Digital Humanities
City stakeholders and professional associations
Urban communities and citizen groups

Rapid urbanization, migration and economic challenges impact European territories with ever-growing plurality of cultures and identities.
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search