Our cities are rich in historical heritage, but citizens still haven’t focused their interest on the heritage of cultural interest. We’re talking about architectural heritage (public art, street art), artistic heritage and also intangible cultural heritage. In general, a lot of spots from this heritage remain absolutely unknown by citizens. In addition to museums, the urban environment is becoming an innovation field for apps. What means that most applications is developing and adapting to mobile devices aimed for this sort of heritage.
Apps for Smartphones actually haven’t meant the start of a new trend towards mobility in the urban heritage, rather it has meant the beginning of the boom. Early cell phones drove some embryonic initiatives, though these initiatives weren’t very successful owing to devices weren’t a lot friendly. When microcomputers led the mobile device market, mobile phones were replaced with PDAs and Ultra Mobile PCs. But these devices had a short life expectancy and their maintenance was under the responsibility of the institution. Users lost all autonomy after the visit.
Unlike those obsolete devices, Smartphones offer a broad range of technologies in only one platform which allow to “play” with the visualization and access to content: geolocation, Wi-Fi, 3G, accelerometer, Bluetooth, augmented reality, QR code system, radio frequency (NFC), etc.
An app destined to show the tourist places -and not so tourist- from any city allows tourists to examine his heritage and so allows them to rediscover the city. The tourist can make a cultural immersion into the urban heritage and know all artistic and historical aspects of the city.
Let’s illustrate some cases of specific apps for urban heritage:
- Art Públic de Barcelona: content of public art suitable on (http://www.dublincity.ie/RECREATIONANDCULTURE/ARTSOFFICE/PUBLICART/Pages/default.aspx and http://appcircus.com/apps/ispysculpture-dublin-s-public-art).
- BCN Visual: app that allows us to know urban and social evolution of Barcelona through photographs.
- Fundació Miró: this app offers a trip around Barcelona for sightseeing of what is related to the painter. Thus, the city adds value to the museum and the museum adds to the city (https://itunes.apple.com/es/app/joan-miro/id470604435?mt=8).
- Dickens Dark London of the Museum of London: this app recreates writer’s work in the City of London, which allows us to rediscover streets of London while we find the most meaningful vestiges from his literary heritage. Amazing aesthetics of comics and recounting of routes around the city (http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Resources/app/Dickens_webpage/index.html).
Gustavo Villazán | Project Coordinator