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Mapping traditions. Reflections towards a dynamic notion of urban heritage and the changing role of the City Museum

Conference contribution
Authors Moniek Driesse
Published in International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments, Conference Coimbra, October 4-8th 2018
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Conservation
Language en
Keywords museums, cultural memory, heritage studies, urban studies, anthropocene, mapping, imaginaries
Subject categories Architecture, Design, Cultural Studies


In order to set out an understanding of how museums —considering their political commission to safeguard cultural memory— can ‘curate’ the past, present and future of the urban landscape, in this paper I explore multiple perspectives on what urban heritage was, is and what it could become. Considering the different notions of time and scale in social processes and transitions of the urban landscape, mapping can be understood as the key activity for working at the nexus of various overlapping fields. In this paper I set out possibilities and constraints given by different existing models for urban heritage mapping, and set the basis for a tool that assembles insights from different fields of knowledge and experience, as an effort to produce a new dynamic mapping practice that would enable us to envision the challenges of the urban environment, by changing the subject position of this process in order to bring complex environmental, social and cultural issues front and centre. The paper is part of an ongoing phd work within the project Critical Heritage Europe Research School and is being developed within the framework of the “Curating the City” work package. The purpose of the project is to explore the long-term and large scale mnemonic dynamics that condition the city and show how different mapping practices and (the conceptualisation of) the imaginary agency can offer heritage practitioners, curators and urban planners tools for tracing complex more-than-human entanglements and assembled network relations of different scales and levels of memory materialised in the urban landscape.

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