Peoples’ values and feelings matter: Participatory heritage management using social media

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Social media has been increasingly used by various communities to express their opinions, values, and feelings about cities and, in particular, built heritage. Social media platforms, interactive technologies used by virtual communities and networks became an important source for recent innovative studies on participatory heritage management. Amongst them, the application of artificial intelligence (AI) methods to analyze social media data for heritage management, in particular peoples’ feelings and their relation to cultural significance(values and attributes), is seldom explored. This chapter explores the potential of social media content as a data source and artificial intelligence methods to analyze people’s feelings and opinions about the cultural significance of built heritage. The city of Yazd, Iran, was taken as a case study, with a specific focus on windcatchers(architectural element used for natural ventilation), a key urban attribute also conveying outstanding universal value, ever since inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2017. This chapter details: 1) the state of the art on participatory heritage management using social media; 2) the methodology to extract values and sentiments assigned to windcatchers on Instagram and Twitter posts over the last ten years; 3) and last, the preliminary findings on the values of windcatchers, sentiment and emotion analysis, and the association analysis between the values of windcatchers and emotions. Results indicate the most and least addressed categories of values and emotions. Moreover, some potential relations between values and emotions (e.g., economic, ecological, and scientific values with trust) are revealed. Besides, it became proven that negative sentiments over windcatchers of Yazd are scarcely expressed (e.g., critiques) in social media. This study confirms the potential of social media for heritage management in terms of (de)coding and measuring the values of heritage attributes and related feelings. This research is useful to the windcatchers in Yazd, but also replicable to other case studies and scales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArtificial Intelligence and Architectural Design
Subtitle of host publicationAn Introduction
EditorsJosep Muntañola
Place of PublicationUniversitat Politècnica de Catalunya · Barcelona Tech - UPC
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-84-19184-49-8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Public participation
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Social media
  • Emotions
  • Cultural significance
  • Sentiment analysis


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