Urban Memory in Space and Time

Urban Memory in Space and Time

Dimitrios Ringas (Ionian University, Greece), Eleni Christopoulou (Ionian University, Greece & University of Patras, Greece) and Michalis Stefanidakis (Ionian University, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-044-0.ch016
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Cities are places where various aspects of past events are projected and expressed through personal memories and narrations; urban memory can be regarded as an expression of collective memory that has been shaped within a particular space as time goes by. This chapter considers urban memory as an important aspect of the cultural heritage of a cityto be captured and preserved for future generations. This chapter introduces the concept of urban memory and how it is related to space and time. It presents a survey of applications that aim to capture, preserve and exploit urban memory and proposes a system that allows citizens to interact with urban memory both by offering their memories and by viewing others’ memories. The proposed system aims to transform cities in a cultural environment where cultural heritage is both preserved and enhanced.
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From Collective To Urban Memory

Memory has always been very important to people as history springs from it; in Greek mythology this is represented by the fact that Mnemosyne, a titaness that personified memory, gave birth to Clio, the muse of history. The name Clio derives from the Greek verb kleo (Greek: κλέω/κλείω) which means to “recount”, “narrate”, and “make famous”. Muse Clio is the scholar or researcher who ignites the desire to record, to research and to give an account of events in time.

Although memory and history are often considered synonymous, nowadays research considers them as fundamentally opposite. According to Nora (1989) memory is life; it remains in permanent evolution, open to the dialectic of remembering and forgetting. History, on the other hand, is the reconstruction of what is no longer. In essence, memory is a perpetually actual phenomenon, a bond tying us to the eternal present whereas history is a representation of the past. Memory can be characterized as the lived experience, whereas history the preservation of lived experience (Crane, 1997). According to Halbwachs (1992) history is the remembered past to which we no longer have an “organic” relation while collective memory is the active past that forms our identities; therefore both history and collective memory are publicly available social facts, the former “dead,” the latter “living”.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Context: Any information that can be used to characterise the situation of entities (i.e. whether a person, place or object) that are considered relevant to the interaction between a user and an application, including the user and the application themselves.

Urban Computing: Studies the implications of embedding ubiquitous computing technologies into modern cities.

Collective Memory: A memory or memories shared or recollected by a group, as a community or culture; any collection of memories passed from one generation to the next.

Context-Aware Application: An application based on an infrastructure that captures context and on a set of rules that govern how the application should respond to context changes.

Ubiquitous Computing (Ubicomp): Technology that is seamlessly integrated into the environment and aids human in their everyday activities. The embedding computation into the environment and everyday objects will enable people to interact with information-processing devices more naturally and casually than they currently do, and in whatever locations or circumstances they find themselves.

Ontology: A formal, explicit specification of a shared conceptualisation. A tool that can conceptualise a world view by capturing general knowledge and providing basic notions and concepts for basic terms and their interrelations.

Urban Memory: A kind of collective memory that is constituted by individuals’ experiences within the place itself and through its history and social environment.

Mobile Computing: The ability to use technology in remote or mobile (non static) environments. This technology is based on the use of battery powered, portable, and wireless computing and communication devices, like smart mobile phones, wearable computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs).

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