HISTORY ACCORDING TO US

Everything at once, here and now. In the third millennium people don’t think about the past: they live by the day, not looking back, nor around, perhaps just a little ahead. And yet history is here, it lives in the space we inhabit and we pass through every day. We move in history, even if we are not aware of it. For urban communities to rediscover the value of history, however, it has to be presented in new and fresh terms.

The Urban Genoma project is based on three ideas:

THE REDISCOVERY OF THE PAST HAS TO START FROM THE PRESENT

Historical narration always stems from the needs and concerns of today. So it is natural that every generation should write it all over again, or simply transcribe it, using new languages and establishing new connections with the present.

THE PAST ENCOUNTERS THE PRESENT IN SPACE.

People, ages, civilizations pass, but the places they have shaped remain. Every piece of territory bears the marks of every layer of history of which it has been the theatre over the course of time; the urban territory, in particular, is a stage on which at any moment, as in a time machine, it is possible to relive innumerable human events and experiences.

LOCAL HISTORY IS A RESOURCE FOR URBAN COMMUNITIES.

The awareness of history generates new forms of identity in which residents can recognize themselves and to which new arrivals and visitors can be introduced, enhancing social cohesion and the capacity of places to integrate the newcomers; it also helps to define the uniqueness of a place and to makes it comprehensible from the outside, boosting its capacity to attract investment and promote itself as a place to visit or to live in.

Our method

The UG project aims at breaking down of the distance between academic history and the amateur historians and the general public, as well as removing the barriers between by the different stakeholders in the urban heritage system. It pursues these targets by

developing new modes of telling and communicating the history of places. We especially believe in the potential of digital cartography and multimedia and multilevel approaches. For this reason we have placed a digital platform at the heart of the project – in the jargon, an H-GIS, historical geographic information system (have a look at our “Geohistories”);

creating networks that involve all the parties that deal with urban history or that can use it as a social or economic resource (public bodies, cultural institutions, universities, civic associations…). In fact, our projects usually involve partners from different industries and sectors;

looking at the urban heritage as a changing system that is owned, preserved and utilized collectively. That is why we monitor all the output by the local and international media, the academia, the amateur historians and local associations, the publishing industry, and the cultural and creative industries (from temporary displays to TV production) which takes the urban heritage as a subject.