Urban spaces shaped by past cultures : historical representation through electronic 3D models and databases
Digital tools have been increasingly used, in the last decades, for the study and representation of the city history. As the available instruments develop and the researchersb ecome more familiar with them, their use turns out to be more effective and provides richer results. This study aims to explore the use of information technology, particularly 3D models, for the city history research. When this study was elaborated, few initiatives effectivelly applied those new tools to convey the history of the city. A smaller number of published scientific enterprises investigated that operation. Therefore, the study is structured mainly on the analysis of some precedents based on those tools, together with others selected for applying creatively traditional methods. These analyses also raise questionings on related issues such as historical narratives, traditional methods of historical graphic representation or other digital representation modes. The examination of those subjects constitutes the thesis' theoretical part. The conclusion is presented in the form of a digital alternative for the representation of the city history. The tool developed as a prototype is grounded on 3D models representing different periods of the city linked to a database of a great diversity of historical documents. Thus, the city history is accessed through images of the significant sites from the 3D models. The prototype development is based on the assumptions that this process of retrieving historical information related to city spaces facilitates the understanding of the past culture. Furthermore, when the readers associate the space they know in the city to the historical information, they understand better the past culture that shaped it, strengthen their identity and intensify the relationship to the place they dwell in.