Tools and methods

Local guide

When it is useful

Discovering the local history and special places of a neighbourhood is an important part of cultural mapping. Creating a local neighbourhood guide together with the inhabitants brings together the history of the place and the residents’ personal stories about their neighbourhood, giving them meaning. This appreciation of the past very often results in greater involvement in preserving the neighbourhood’s heritage and creating its future. The cooperation of experts, historians, architects and residents represents an opportunity to learn from each other. Gathering and exchanging material to be published integrates the group around a common goal. One example of such a project is the Local Guide to Nowy Port (also available in English), which was developed as part of UrbCulturalPlanning. The guide can be the beginning of a longer activity – in Nowy Port, those involved in its creation have formed a group of Local Guides who, in cooperation with CCI, invite the local residents, visitors from other parts of the city and tourists for a tour of their district along alternative routes. Participants in the programme first learn about the history of their city through lectures, acquire tour guiding skills and weave their stories into a narrative about the place. Once they pass the exam – a test walk – their guided tours are incorporated into the institution's summer programme.

Local guide

Step by step instruction

  • Find people living in the neighbourhood who are interested in its history. It is a good idea to start your search on social media – they often post their collections and memories there.
  • Network with local experts – look for academics who have studied the history of your city and professional guides.
  • Organise a meeting to present the idea of a local guide and gather people willing to participate in its creation.
  • Over the course of several months, collect historical materials: texts, photographs, postcards, maps, and interview residents about their memories. It is a good idea to plan some regular meetings to discuss your findings.
  • Choose the most relevant ones of the collected stories and visual materials and prepare texts. The editor can be one of the participants of the activity, and the authors can be the other participants.
  • The finished text has to be proofread and edited. The text is then ready to be printed (we recommend using recycled paper) and made available online.
  • Printed guides can be made available free of charge in local places such as libraries, museums, shops or restaurants.

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