Special Issue "Digital Encounters with Built Heritage"

A special issue of Smart Cities (ISSN 2624-6511). This special issue belongs to the section "Smart Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Zsófia Ruttkay
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Hungary Head of Lab
Interests: digital museums; locative games; nonlinear storytelling; multimodal interaction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Digital technologies have been offering an ever-increasing arsenal for making people aware of, enjoy, learn about, and contribute to cultural heritage, particularly as presented in museums. In this Special Issue, we focus on built heritage. The scope is wide, from buildings and other built artefacts (roads, bridges, gardens, cemeteries, light-towers, etc.) that are completely or partially destroyed or covered (by natural erosion or catastrophe and/or by human intervention) to heritage buildings and built facilities that are still in use, woven into the daily life of a busy city, standing abandoned, or with special status as historic monuments or sites to be visited. Whether we consider a world-famous built heritage site that attracts millions of visitors every year, a local monument, or a building with some significance because of its architectural, historical, industrial, or social role in the (not necessarily far) past, the basic issue is the same: how to make by-passers, every-day “users” from the local community, and visitors aware of the relevance of the location. Built heritage conveys stories about its design and construction, function, usage and life, transformation through ages, personal or historical events witnessed, and more. How can we inform people about these stories? How can we make them interested, stop by, and engage with built heritage?

In our digital age, we have a multitude of technologies to overcome the traditional static, cryptic, or lengthy textual descriptions, usually with some illustrative drawings. On the other hand, information boards do not attract the digital native generations. Hence, forging appealing presentation methods for them is a prerequisite to ensure the future preservation of built and connoted non-tangible cultural heritage on a societal level.

With AR and VR technologies, earlier state and hidden details can be seen, and former life and atmosphere can be evoked. By-passers can be addressed with the help of locative technologies and sensors. By gamification, they can be invited for discovery or content creation. In smart towns, the prevailing ICT facilities and data access may add another dimension, compiling separate applications and services into a “built heritage exploration” layer.

The engaging presentation of built heritage may serve multiple purposes, and a set of different audiences. For example:

- Attract visitors, increase the touristic value of a location;
- Offer alternate experiences for limiting—or even keeping away—visitors in order to protect the built heritage in situ;
- Make people of different backgrounds engage and learn in a joyful way
- Strengthen local identity;
- Facilitate social encounters within a community;
- Increase awareness for built heritage and its threats;
We seek articles addressing the above issues, in two categories:
- Theoretical papers related to potential benefits and shortcomings of certain technologies and smart city environments for built heritage awareness, discussing the issue of the real and digitally reconstructed fictional, bridging the gap between the present and the past.
- Case studies discussing novel applications of digital technologies for encounters with built heritage, preferably with evaluation.

Prof. Zsófia Ruttkay
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Smart Cities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • digital technologies
  • built heritage
  • storytelling
  • social experience
  • multisensory environments
  • XR: AR, VR, MR

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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