Heritage Connect is an innovative website which helps connect people with the places in which they live and work, and which they visit. The website uses up to the minute technology including mobile phone web applications, GPS location, Google maps and YouTube videos to provide information to people wherever they are. The interactive website enables people to upload images and add their own views on character. It has been designed to be used by local residents, visitors, school children and people involved in the planning process – in short anyone who is interested in places, how they developed and how they might change.
Heritage Connect is the gateway for the Lincoln Townscape Assessment (LTA). The LTA has developed and used a new method of characterisation to describe the inherited character of all parts of the city of Lincoln. A report on the methodology can be found here.
Through integrating principles of archaeology and urbanism, as well as ecological information and local people’s views of character, the LTA has produced an holistic and substantive assessment of the current tangible/visible character of Lincoln.
Throughout the Heritage Connect website information is structured according to the 108 distinct places, or ‘Character Areas’, defined in the LTA. Information was recorded for each Character Area in Lincoln, both through the integration of existing heritage and ecological information, as well as the results of thorough ground survey. Each ‘Character Area’ is described according to its historical development and its urban form, with emphasis placed on how the traces of previous activity, be it recent or ancient, are manifested in the current character of an area. Written statements produced for each Character Area are factual and objective in content, free from value judgement. By recording information for individual ‘Character Areas’ the assessment is well placed to consider the concept of ‘place’, making clear the factors behind an area’s evolution as well as its modern day use.
Lincoln's 108 Character Areas
Heritage Connect is also a gateway for other projects conducted in Lincoln since 1993. The studies, which also fed into the LTA, provide a wealth of heritage and environmental information about the city:
· The Lincoln Heritage Database (1993 - today)
· The Lincoln Archaeological Research Assessment (2000 to 2003)
· Lincoln Ecological Survey (2006)
The inclusion of these studies in Heritage Connect allows people to access a huge range of heritage and other information about places on one website.
As well as being an important resource for tourists and local communities, Heritage Connect will help inform the management of change and the shaping of places within Lincoln’s urban and rural areas. In addition to assisting with developments on a case by case basis, Heritage Connect will help inform the formulation of planning policy and strategy. In all cases, information will be used to provide a context for future development and, in so doing, maximise the potential benefit of the city’s inherited environment.
The Lincoln Townscape Assessment Implementation Project [2009 – 2011] is a follow on project which analyses the use of historic characterisation information as part of Lincoln’s wider place-shaping strategy. The project looks to define a strategy for the integration of characterisation information in the various elements of place-shaping, in particular Development Management and Neighbourhood Management. Contact Adam Partington, Townscape Characterisation Projects Manager, City of Lincoln Council.