Views, use and reception of visualisations of development proposals impacting cultural heritage
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Visualisations of land-use projects have become an important part of the planning process. Using a survey of heritage professionals’ attitudes towards visualisations as a starting point, this article addresses tensions between the expressed usefulness of visualisations and critical attitudes towards the lack of ‘objectivity’ of visual representation and the risk of manipulation for strategic purposes. Moving from the survey, the article discusses how visual representations of development proposals became part of a Norwegian public dispute over the expansion of a shopping centre in a historic town. Furthermore, our aim is to introduce a social semiotic approach for analysing visualisations at historic sites. Finally, we discuss some theoretical implications of negotiating visualisations, with emphasis on the recent debate about representational and non-representational theories in heritage studies.