Virtual Environments of Contested Urban Space

Virtual Environments of Contested Urban Space:
Mapping the Spatial Experience of Heritage in Divided Historic Cities

Theoretical Framework
Historical inquiries and monuments of cultural heritage from the historic city of Nicosia will be explored via digital reconstructions and navigations of virtual territories. This method will help users to understand the remaining traces of each monument’s building phases in their urban context, a process of unfolding the palimpsest of the city’s history.

Research Question
How to develop a platform for collaboration that will facilitate capturing, analysing, archiving and visualizing information about the occupation of spaces of exclusion: monuments and sites of cultural heritage that have vanished or, were never completed due to historical events such as war, natural disasters, political interests and economic difficulties.

Case Study
The ‘Paphos’ gate of the Venetian walls still encircling the historic core of the Cypriot capital, is virtually on the infamous Green Line that divides the city.

The aim of our research is the development of real-time 3dimensional virtual environments to test the potential of spatially distributed narrative structures in engaging users in the operation of cultural heritage monuments in the urban environment of the historic center of Nicosia to inform the public and evaluate the design and historic development of cities, buildings and exhibition artifacts. These interactive environments perform as a meeting place for play, communication, collaboration, exploration, discovery and therefore learning and education. This platform will function as a multi-layered tool for interpreting territorial tokens and ultimately the city’s informed rehabilitation, the preservation of its cultural heritage and its future development. We envision the creation of a virtual “canvas” that will foster the integration of a wide array of interdisciplinary research applications and methods focused on aspects of the city’s past and present realities.

Cultural Heritage