Urban Agenda Partnership for Culture and Cultural Heritage
The Urban Agenda Partnership for Culture and Cultural Heritage for the EU finalised its preparatory work and presented its orientation paper at a participatory lab. The partnership focuses on the role of cultural heritage as a resource for urban development with all its social, ecological and economic dimensions. The partnership "tested" its topics, key issues and challenges, exchanged visions and investigated possible positive overlapping with other initiatives in a broader context. The vision and framework the partners defined so far was opened to a broader audience of relevant stakeholders (e.g. UNESCO, ICOMOS, Universities, NGOs, practitioners of the European Year of Cultural Heritage) and other institutions interested.
The issue of balancing the benefits of tourism between the attractiveness of touristic and cultural sites and the residents of those areas is the bottom-line discussion.
Creative and cultural industries
This topic deals with how supporting and fostering the economic urban framework composed by small enterprises focused on both traditional and innovative urban identity and heritage preservation.
Transformation, adaptive reuse and urban reconversion
The partnership focused on two aspects that have to be considered for sustainable development across its social, ecological and economic dimensions:
to preserve spaces and buildings with their rich history, and to consider the local population's needs, strengthen existing local identities by involving them in the use of heritage as a collective good.
There is a lack of integrated investment tools oriented to cultural urban enhancement. Business plans that merge different components of urban organisation (infrastructures, local services, social and economic stakeholders) are needed as well as tools for shared management and intervention of cultural heritage assets.
Resilience of cultural and natural heritage
More best practice analysis and implementation of pilot projects in the field of risk preparedness and risk/heritage management have to be brought up (possible result/outcome: handbook for actions at local level). Bottom-up processes at local level should be encouraged. Valorisation of research should be the guiding principle.
Integrated and interdisciplinary approaches for governance
Mapping and analysing existing governance models is necessary, especially those that ensure sound management and monitoring of how cultural heritage can be embedded in the life of a city and how various aspects (strategic considerations, investments, management aspects) can be tackled in a coherent and integrated way.
Cultural services and culture for inclusive cities
Peer-learning (physical, virtual – i.e. online, other possible forms of exchanges) for local authorities and local stakeholders on cultural participation, including tailored coaching, external experts and focusing on how to adjust possible solutions rather than replicate 1:1. Specific actions are necessary to help with data collection – toolkits, guidelines, best practices, etc.
In the future, considering the discussion during the EWRC event the partnership will identify the actions necessary to develop the action plan to better support the implementation of appropriate cultural heritage protection projects as a means to foster sound and sustainable urban development processes.
Take away message
We believe that culture and cultural heritage can be very important for promoting balanced, aware, effective and inclusive development in large European cities, and in small cities and territories with fragile economies.
This conviction is shared by a vast partnership, comprising EC directorates, international organisations, research bodies, Member States, regional/territorial organisations and municipalities working together, in a joint and multilevel context, to find tools, solutions and strategies aimed at urban policies based on enhancing culture and cultural heritage
Louise Haxthausen, Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels and UNESCO Representative to the European Union
Gregor Hitzfeld, ICOMOS, Secretary General of ICOMOS Germany, EU-relation officer of the Landesdenkmalamt Berlin