5. How to
tell a good story on CH and the City
Developing some Guidelines
At this point, it is already possible to clarify some recommendations on how to increase the quality and communicative efficiency of the stories related to urban development and CH. There are a lot of possibilities to do it, so it is important to try to keep the tips very open in order to maintain a big range of options for future writers. The adaptation to the strengths, assets and weaknesses of every territory and project are the first clue.
5.1. Avoiding mistakes (or What not to do when communicating CH)
There are some types of approach to heritage as a source for urban development that needs to be avoided, and some kind of texts and narratives that are examples of what not to do if we really want to communicate CH seriously, honestly and effectively.
However, we can not point out mistakes or wrongdoing without offering some solution. Consequently, this report wants to show good practices and mistakes at the same level. So, from now on some practical advice are going to be shown in a very direct way, in a dialectic “what to do / what not to do” form. Obviously, they work as the two sides of a coin.
5.2. Writing the stories
Laying solid foundations is crucial. Storytelling is about effective topics and a successful structure. A clear methodology is required. There are a number of helpful rules to achieve the correct dramatic composition of a story. First of all, it is important to pay attention to a few elements of classic storytelling that make easier to communicate your message more effectively. On the one hand, the advertising or propagandistic language need to be avoided. On the other, the Aristotelian three-act structure of: exposition, conflict, resolution should be always kept in mind. At least, theoretically, even if the final story is not classical at all and you are trying to find a much more risky approach.
We should assume that interpretation by the readers is open and that they will get different meanings from the same texts according to their backgrounds and previous experiences. That's an advantage, so we shouldn't make any extra effort to clarify in just one direction the meaning of every object, tradition or expression we are showing.
5.3. Displaying the visuals
The visual side is crucial when storytelling the city. As Wolfe defends on Seeing the Better City: “[...] photographs documenting urban potential deserved more attention, and could be an effective contribution to emotional, controversial discussions about urban change”. While “[…] verbal communication alone is often insufficient to convey adequate information about urban space”. (Wolfe, 2017: XII, 1).