2.2.Connecting Heritage to Urban Futures
“Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society, rather you must tell a new powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story, one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole, one that even shines some light into the future so that we can take the next step forward. If you want to change a society, then you have to tell an alternative story.”
As some studies have proven, it is more difficult, if not impossible, to imagine the future without remembering the past (Klein, Loftus & Kihlstrom, 2002: 353-379). The substance and substrate of the stories that are invented are based in the past, also neurologically (Mc Adams, 2013). CH is important then as something inherited from the past and a resource for what will be done and preserved in the future.
If cities are an open text to be written, the possible directions taken by urban development are wide open. Therefore, in order to find a structure to analyse the use of CH as a propeller for the stories linked to the urban future development, 4 strands have been designed within this report. Each of them related to diverse key concepts or fields including: 1. sustainability, new urban uses and new technology; 2. contemporary arts and creative industries; 3. social participation, democracy and public uses; 4. and experience economy and foreign visitors. Every one of them can be applied for every project analysed in the toolkit, but they are not exclusive. Shown as a grid we can see clearly all its possible connections and interactions:
The city is like
a cloud. Its precise
shape develops from
the previous form
at a given time, and
it is tending to
disappear in the
In conclusion, the possibilities are almost endless. Cultural Heritage in all its forms can offer a big amount of resources related to urban futures. It is strictly necessary to avoid the approach to CH just as the remains of a dead past, but as a propeller in the development of the foreseen city. It is a crucial economic element that turns on very important economic areas like creative industries, or the experience economy one. It enables the connection of the city with new technologies, offering a new kind of close relation to the identity of the place by the re-use of the city centre as the best place to locate offices and workplaces for new emerging sectors.
But, most of all, it improves the quality of life of citizens, reinforcing the identification with the city and empowering social cohesion. It provides cultural experiences, leisure, entertainment, knowledge, education... CH, understood as an open platform for communication, interaction and creativity, make the citizens protagonists of the shared project of urban development.