Everyday heritage in the making | Future Making in the Anthropocene Podcast

Heriland-researcher MJ Swiderski

In this third episode Heriland-researcher MJ Swiderski explains how memories could provide a base for collecting heritage values and applying them to urban planning processes. Architect and researcher Lidwine Spoormans reflects on his research and provides views on how everyday heritage is as least as important for residents as protected monuments.

Warsaw-born MJ Swiderski is part of the Heriland research program, dedicated to training a new generation of heritage professionals. His research makes a great example of how young or ‘everyday’ heritage might be approached in ways that take account of residents’ views. He consulted residents of Ursynów (Warsaw), one of the largest housing estates built during the socialist period in Poland, to share their personal memories about their surroundings. By adding fictional characters, illustrations and his own personal memories to the online questionnaire, he managed to collect over 1.100 reactions. The memories were used for an urban game and workshop for residents and heritage and planning professionals, that allowed for informed discussions on the future of Ursynów.

The term ‘everyday heritage’ is frequently coined by Lidwine Spoormans, an architect and lecturer at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. She specializes in post-war architecture, and, more specifically, architecture built in the 1980’s. A couple of years ago, she launched the online platform ‘Love 80’s architecture’, that showcases both well-known, as well as more obscure, Dutch buildings and urban schemes from that period. Like Swiderski, she takes residents’ views on their surroundings seriously. She recognizes residents’ ability to spot other qualities than those promoted by professionals, i.e. the authorized heritage discourse. “Residents assess from today’s point of view, instead of referring to the intentions of the urban design.”

MJ Swiderski conducts his PhD-research under supervision of professor Gert-Jan Burgers and professor Henri de Groot and research associate Niels van Manen of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Did you miss the previous episodes of the Future Making in the Anthropocene Podcast? Listen to the first one here, or the second episode here.

Show notes