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How to study intangible heritage in street markets

Eva Sittenauer & Iva Shokoska


“Heritage-making is an active, multivocal, open-ended and inherently contested field of social practice that is continuously practised in everyday life” Stuart Hall


Street markets are a fundamental feature of cities which increase liveability by encouraging everyday activities. And, as a result, increasing social interaction. They represent sites of sociability and face-to-face interaction, and at the same time their quality is commonly perceived to be a measure of the quality of urban life. Ideally they are places that are accessible to everybody and where difference is encountered and negotiated. And this is why they need to be maintained as such. There is one special component that one can find in street markets - and that is intangible heritage. You might ask yourself what is intangible heritage? And why it is important in this context. Further on, how the concept of intangible heritage defined through various layers of community exchanges in street markets? And how its viability can be reactivated and retained in order to become and stay a fundamental quality of urban life? Let us answer your questions first. Intangible heritage is manifested by very specific social interactions and communal activities that mostly take place in street markets & so called “third places” which conserve a specific representation of this particular heritage assets of one community. In this context, intangible heritage would be the so call “entertainment” provided in these places - the chat with the vendors, the gossip with the flower lady, even the political disagreement with the butcher. Of course, someone would ask, why is it important, and then again, to whom it is of a value. The answer is very simple - it is important in order to maintain the public life in these places as such, as well as to keep the uniqueness of the place. As well as to whom - to the people who work there, and to the people who go there. And then ask yourself. What would happen if street markets would not exist anymore and all of this is lost. Concerning, right? This is why we provided a manual - set of tools for you to start discovering intangible heritage in the context of street markets. This toolbox should help you discover the various hidden layers of intangible heritage with a special accent on street markets, while understanding its vital importance for the urban life in cities. Use your tools smart and have fun!


the 3 phases of research The Pre - Phase

On Site Gather Data Involve the People Involve Yourself The After - Phase Display Information


The Pre - Phase literature review What it is: Written and graphic material that communicates either a collection of information or the active and systematic process of inquiry in urban design. Why: Research reports are used to discover, interpret or revise facts, behaviours and theories. Note: A research question or hypothesis is put forward to be tested. The research proposal method considers ethical processes and primary and/or secondary research material, the collection of information, field work and other activities. Output: Providing concrete qualitative as well as quantitative evidence based research in an easily read format that can stimulate debate and project implementation theories, practices and methods.

creative display What it is: A display of an idea proposal on a certain topic in association with a community event. Why: Providing information, increasing awareness and knowledge about a project and obtaining public feedback. This tool is useful for local neighbourhood community projects because it establishes a profile for the project in the local community. This can be a low-cost, high-profile way of informing in order to obtain a feedback from local people. Note: Public displays require a space that is easily accessible. Project information that is easy to read is displayed and supplemented with hand-outs supplied to members of the public who visit the display. Output: Physical material representing an idea that can be easily transmitted.


On Site

Gather Data

mapping What it is: A graphic technique for recording and analysing different physical features and different structural patterns of a geographical area. However, mapping can also be used in order to record different aspects of a public space or qualities of different social interactions between people. Why: To identify the part of public spaces with quality where it's best to search for social heritage. Mapping enables comparative assessment or monitoring of quantitative and qualitative design conditions and elements over time. Note: The application of mapping is virtually unlimited. Mapping to scale allows quantitative analysis of physical features, and is a base for showing planned design interventions in context. Output: Providing base information for all types of projects and initiatives.

1 - on - 1 interview What it is: A one-on-one interview is a conversation between a researcher and a participant in a face-to-face situation. When: When there is a need for information from users and/or experts. Why: Facilitates quick and early discovery; best for personal information; works well in combination with other methods. Note: For structured interviews, the interviewer should be consistent across interviews. Output: Notes and recordings of the interviews.

actors map What it is: to represents the different relationships between stakeholders. It is a view of the service/system and its context. A relationship which lasts longer or since generations and exists because of various aspects. (relationships are social heritage under various circumstances because of their existing time, their strong connection & relationships which are so strong that they transfer between people and groups). When: At the beginning of a project to understand relationships between the different parties and connections. Why: Understanding relationships is an important aspect of discovering social heritage. Note: Stakeholders aren’t only employees or companies, a family member can also be a stakeholder. Output: A map of all the stakeholders and their relationship with each other.

social impact assessment

What it is: identifying and analysing the potential impacts of a proposed development on people, both individuals and communities. Includes looking for ways to mitigate adverse effects, enhance positive effects and manage any consequential social change. Why: to bring about a social and cultural outcome with reference to the environmental on people. Note: A multi-disciplinary process as well as an involvement of the community in more aspects is essential. Consider: how people live, work, play and interact with each other on a daily basis, culture, community services and facilities, community character, ability to participate in decision-making Output: Understanding the social behavior of people regarding thier different social structure and culture background


On Site

Involve the People

one word survey What it is: Ask different users how they would describe the place in one word. When: at the beginning of the research Why: to get an overall opinion about what matters most to the people as well as to discover how they feel about the certain topic. Note: Asking the right question can lead to discoveries regarding the topic being researched Output: Providing understanding about people's opinions, and most importantly, feelings

emotional journey What it is: An emotional journey is a visualization that maps and illustrates a user’s emotional experience through the experience of interacting with a person, a group of people or physical environment When: When you need to identify how people feel during the experience of using the public space. Why: Allows the research team to understand where & in what ways to improve the experience. Note: Emotional journeys depend on good research. Output: A mapped out overview of how someone feels while doing something. A look inside the ‘emotional rollercoaster’.

the subjective approach What it is: Represents a reflection of individual values and perception with the regard to the question of the concept of intangible heritage in street markets. Why: To get a better feeling of how to work with later gained data. When: This tool might be used at both times - at the beginning of the research, as well as at the end of a research, or after a conduction of a project. Note: The critical questioning going from an individual and moreover, subjective point of view, might be the first step, but shouldn’t influence the further research.

through others eyes What it is: Researching can take a lot of time. Sometimes, if you look at something too much, you become too fixated. At several moments in the process it might be useful to have a review from someone outside of the group. When: When concept(s) have been selected and before working out too many details. Why: This method allows to get feedback on concepts by the target audience, allowing to modify the concept if needed. Note: Imagine presenting the concept to a kid. It should be easily understood by anyone Output: Insights on how the design concept is perceived by the target audience.


On Site

Involve Yourself

becoming insider

What it is: A participation approach to gain a rapid, in-depth understanding of a community, or certain aspects of a community engaging with the community. Why: Allowing people to share aspects of their own situation, conditions of life, knowledge, perceptions, aspirations and preferences. Note: ‘Becoming insider’ can be used as part of participatory appraisal. Output: This tool can be used to encourage various layers of participation and interaction between participants as they respond to the views of others, while adding their own ideas to a display.


The After - Phase

Display Information

social media What it is: A selection of techniques used in communicating a variety of information to a wide audience. Why: Useful in all research projects where transmitting of a message as well as communication to a wide audience is required. Note: There are various techniques including a ‘Blog’ – that represents a website with many regular entries, such as commentary, descriptions of events, graphics, video, includes links to related sites where readers can normally leave comments. Output: Creating a platform for communication between the researcher and the audience.

creative display What it is: A display of an idea proposal on a certain topic in association with a community event. Why: Providing information, increasing awareness and knowledge about a project and obtaining public feedback. This tool is useful for local neighbourhood community projects because it establishes a profile for the project in the local community. This can be a low-cost, high-profile way of informing in order to obtain a feedback from local people. Note: Public displays require a space that is easily accessible. Project information that is easy to read is displayed and supplemented with hand-outs supplied to members of the public who visit the display. Output: Physical material representing an idea that can be easily transmitted.

provocaitive display

What it is: Provocative advertisement to trigger critical reflection. Why: Figuring out what kind of social values really matter to the community. Note: Can be presented in a written, spoken and visual form. Output: Critical reflection and rethinking of facts and opinions which seemed

fixed.


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If you feel inspired by this manual, this is a map showing the rest of street markets in Vienna.

Explore them and have fun!

How to study intangible heritage in street markets manual  
How to study intangible heritage in street markets manual  
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