Digital Knowledge Platform for Portugal Construction History, 19th and 20th centuries

The project intends to create a digital knowledge platform to map Construction History in Portugal during the 19th and 20th centuries. Our constructions and how we built them in the past have shaped who we are today. The same applies to the future. In this sense this platform is a powerful tool to piece together dispersed data on building cultures in Portugal, in need for new sustainable strategies: demographics, legislation, statistics on industry and commerce, location of quarries, infrastructures, landscape intrusion indicators, cement and metallurgical factories, teaching, labouring, transportation, etc. The platform will make available texts, graphs, maps, images, videos and links to related sources and to construction history societies, industrial and professional associations. This open access web tool will increase communication between scholars and decision makers for the construction sector and territorial management.

The project is particularly innovator from the point of view of: 1) the nature of the problem and case studies; 2) the Construction History multidisciplinary methodology interrelating different data sources to trace back the main characteristics of Portuguese building cultures during the last two centuries; 3) the analysis of different data sources (technical literature and periodicals, statistics figures, maps, photos and documentaries); 4) the tools used for data analysis like social network analysis; 5) the tools for results dissemination: an open access digital knowledge platform combining texts, geolocated interactive maps, social network analysis diagrams, images, and videos.

The research team integrates specialists from distinct fields of knowledge from the University of Lisbon and New University of Lisbon: architecture, engineering, economic and social history, digital history and cultural heritage. The platform uses mainly free software and open resources. The platform is twice useful: it will be the major tool for dissemination and sharing of the project's academic results; and it will serve as the major connection media, during and after the project, open to the construction sector and also to the general public.
The work will establish strong links between the university and the construction industry through open workshops and training courses, nurturing new strategies and advancing new partnerships. A final international conference on Construction History and the future of Portuguese Construction Industry will contribute to the debate on construction, sustainability, territorial management and heritage.

Funded by FCT (ref.PTDC/ART-DAQ/28984/2017)