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Mapping controversial memories in the historic urban landscape: a multidisciplinary study of Beijing, Mexico City and Rome
Research Question:

How is the plurality of urban cultural heritage perceived and how is it taken into account in the urban development in Beijing, Mexico and Rome?

Over the past decade, heritage management has become key to sustainable urban development. An increasing proportion of the world’s population lives in cities, yet few policies ensure strategic balance between urban development and conservation. Opportunities for innovative reuse of urban space also arise, however, leading to re-invention of its cultural meaning. In response, new approaches to heritage protection have emerged aimed at better integration with broader urban management policies. At the international level, this reflection culminated in the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (RHUL). The RHUL is a normative and general instrument, open to interpretation, that depends upon the cultural context of its implementation. Little research exists on its feasibility, interpretation and effects.

This research project assesses the potential and limits of the emerging approach of ‘historic urban landscape’ (HUL) by analysing the socio-spatial effects of its implementation at the local level in Beijing, Mexico City and Rome. Specifically, it questions how fully this approach recognizes the plurality of memories – from official to subaltern – that underpin attachment to urban territories.

Combining methods from urban sociology, cultural anthropology and visual modeling, the research will map collective perceptions of space in order to identify different types of memorial territories in the three cities and the emerging controversies within and between them.

Focusing on the RHUL implementation at the local level, the project will contribute to the understanding of its specific cultural interpretations. The research will furthermore develop an innovative method enabling a comprehensive mapping of a city’s cultural and human resources and foster stakeholders’ participation.

Ongoing

Project Members

Name Role Department/Institute Institution
Florence Graezer Bideau Coordinator Collège des humanités/Center for Area and Cultural Studies Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Jean-Christophe Loubier Co-Coordinator Institut Entrepreneurship & Management Haute Ecole spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale
Rafael Matos-Wasem Co-Coordinator School of Management and Tourism Haute Ecole spécialisée de Suisse Occidentale
Yves Pedrazzini Co-Coordinator Faculty of Natural, Architectural and Built Environment (ENAC)/Laboratoire de Sociologie urbaine (LaSUR) Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Lucia Bordone Principal Member Collège des humanités/Center for Area and Cultural Studies Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Lesslie Astrid Herrera Quiroz Principal Member Faculty of Natural, Architectural and Built Environment (ENAC) Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Michele Bonino Associated Member Department of Architecture and Design Politecnico di Torino
Claudia Conforti Associated Member Department of Civil Engineering Università degli studi di Roma Tor Vergata
Martha de Alba Associated Member Department of Sociology Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana
Filippo de Pieri Associated Member Department of Architecture and Design Politecnico di Torino
Daniel Herniaux Associated Member Faculty of Political and Social Sciences Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro
Zhang Li Associated Member School of Architecture Tsinghua University
Viola Mordenti Associated Member ETICity (Exploring Territories Imagining the City) - Rome
Francesca Romana Stabile Associated Member Department of Architecture Università degli studi Roma Tre
Alejandro Suarez Pareyon Associated Member Faculty of Architecture Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Haiming Yan Associated Member Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage - Beijing