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The Historical City, Its Transmission and Perception via Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and the Use of the Past as a Resource for the Present: A New Era for Urban Cultural Heritage and Tourism?

Department of Geography, Autonoma University of Madrid (UAM) c/ Francisco Tomás y Valiente, 1 28049 Madrid, Spain
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Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2835; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102835
Received: 29 March 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
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Abstract

The objective of this study is to analyze the impact that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are having on our conception, appreciation, and use of urban heritage spaces. Although most evaluations that appear in the specialized literature are clearly positive in this respect, there is a critical line of thought that considers these new technologies as connected to prior theoretical assumptions about heritage, in terms of what we value, how we value it, and for what reasons. To contrast the two perspectives, we have selected and examined scientific literature evaluating the application of AR and VR in urban heritage spaces, in order to analyze whether, in addition to positive effects, certain negatives linked to the ‘virtualization’ of space are also at work. A qualitative methodology has been developed supported by the ATLAS.ti tool (Scientific Software Development GmbH, Berlin, Germany), which allows definition of the different thematic lines treated in the literature as well as the connections between them. Our main conclusion is that concerns around the critical aspects are very limited, with only a few perceiving the possible dangers of trivialization of heritage, the creation of virtual tourist worlds separate from the material space of socio-economic relations, negative effects on the way in which knowledge is constructed, or the difficulties for some user groups in accessing these technologies.
Keywords: augmented reality; virtual reality; cultural heritage; historical city; urban dynamics; ATLAS.ti augmented reality; virtual reality; cultural heritage; historical city; urban dynamics; ATLAS.ti
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Barrado-Timón, D.A.; Hidalgo-Giralt, C. The Historical City, Its Transmission and Perception via Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and the Use of the Past as a Resource for the Present: A New Era for Urban Cultural Heritage and Tourism? Sustainability 2019, 11, 2835.

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