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Liu, Fangfang and Kang, Jian and Wu, Yue and Yang, Da and Meng, Qi What do we visually focus on in a World Heritage Site? A case study in the Historic Centre of Prague. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications volume 9, Article number: 400 (2022), 9.


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Since socio-economic development is associated with artificial construction, heritage environments must be protected and renewed while adapting to such development. Many World Heritage Sites’ visual integrity is endangered by new construction. The paper aims to explore people’s visual focus patterns concerning the integrity of heritage to ensure that traditional culture is not endangered by the construction and development of modern life, and to protect Outstanding Universal Values. In this study, visual heatmaps are generated to investigate people’s visual integrity in the Historic Centre of Prague from micro to macro viewpoints using an eye tracker. We found that humans’ perspectives are unobstructed or concentrated, and the view of main attractions is generally maintained by a buffer zone. However, newly constructed high-rise buildings can result in major visual concerns. Therefore, new buildings with large heights and strong contrasting colours should be restricted to World Heritage Sites. Moreover, complex artistic effects (facade midline, domes, mural painting, faces of sculptures) will likely attract people’s attention. In contrast, visual focus is not concentrated on greenery, roofs and floors. Accordingly, greenery could become a flexible space to serve as a background for buildings and landscape nodes. Furthermore, visual focal factors are associated with two significant aspects: people and the environment. Since people and transportation could pose visual concerns, tourism managers should optimise for characteristics such as controlling the density of pedestrian flow and planning parking spaces. The visual patterns identified could be useful for the design, conservation, and management of visual integrity in cultural heritage sites to avoid the spread of artificial constructions within the boundaries of heritage sites, which may lead to their being endangered or delisted.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: socio-economic development; Prague; construction and development; people and the environment; cultural heritage sites;
Subjects: English > Climate Change Adaptation
Depositing User: Susanna Carlsten
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2022 05:21
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2022 05:21

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