Use of visualisation when development projects impact heritage sites

This article addresses tensions between the expressed usefulness of visualisations and critical attitudes towards the lack of ‘objectivity’ of visual representations and the risk of manipulation for strategic purposes.

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With the increased development pressures in urban and rural areas alike, visualisations become ever-important means of presenting the potential impact of development projects and informing decision-making.


Using a survey of heritage professionals’ attitudes towards visualisations as a starting point, this article addresses tensions regarding the use of visualisation.

Moving from the survey, the article includes an empirical case study on  how visualisations of   development proposals became part of a Norwegian public dispute over the expansion of a shopping centre in a historic town.

Contributes to theorising

Finally, the article contributes to theorising within the field of heritage studies discussing the need to approach visualisations from both representational and non-representational perspectives.

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