Observing attachment: Understanding everyday life, urban heritage and public space in the Port of Veracruz, Mexico

Observational methods have the potential to illustrate the ways that people occupy and appropriate historic urban places. These observations can be recorded and mapped to reveal the everyday rhythms of these places. They can document patterns of urban life that are seldom considered in the conservation of historic public spaces and cultural heritage. Observations can provide an image of ethnographic surveys, thus producing a new layer of information on the relations of people in space at different times. In this chapter, we discuss how examining such micro-geographies helps to understand the embodied experience and the rise of everyday urban social networks. The chapter portrays the Plazuela de la Campana in Veracruz, a historic square that fell into disuse and was revitalised by deliberate policies and local initiatives which brought traditional music and dance into the square. The case demonstrates the importance of observation methods as part of a mixed research methodology for historic public spaces. It reveals how folkloric events became part of everyday life in the square, nurtured collective place attachment and contributed to it being regarded as local and everyday urban heritage