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Resilience and sustainable reconstruction of historic areas to cope with climate change and hazard events

Actions should establish how to implement the principle of building back better[[See 2015 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Priority 4 on “build back better in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction”.]] and safer in carrying out sustainable reconstruction and recovery interventions of historic areas where damage has occurred, thus rendering them more socially, economically and environmentally resilient, and/or should establish how to proactively enhance the resilience of these areas so that they will better cope with future disasters. Furthermore, actions should:

  • develop, deploy and validate tools, information models, strategies and plans for enhancing the resilience of historic areas to cope with disaster events, vulnerability assessment and integrated reconstruction;
  • test and pilot novel cost-effective solutions to enhance the resilience of buildings and whole historic areas to natural hazards, including climate change related events, while at the same time fully respecting the historic value of the places;
  • provide science- and evidence-based guidelines and models to local authorities for carrying out sustainable reconstruction within a participatory and community–based context, while adopting new governance and finance models;
  • improve and further develop models to predict direct and indirect impacts of climate, global and environmental change and related risks on historic areas;
  • review, map and systematically characterize existing experiences and good practices in Europe and globally, through evidence and common metrics to evaluate and establish their replicability conditions, and recommend how historic areas can be rendered more resilient and better prepared to face future disaster events.

The participation of social sciences and humanities disciplines such as gender studies, architecture, archaeology, cultural anthropology, law, economics, governance, planning, cultural and historical studies, is considered essential to properly address the complex challenges of this topic. Consortia should also include societal stakeholders and community-based partners to find practical and durable solutions.

Actions should take into account activities addressed by other initiatives such as the EU Copernicus Climate Change Service and Copernicus Emergency Management Service, and provide added value.

Actions should envisage resources for clustering with other projects relevant to cultural heritage funded under previous, current and future Horizon 2020 calls within Societal Challenge 5. Proposals should also pay attention to the special call conditions for this topic.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 5 million and EUR 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

European historic areas[[For the definition of historic areas please see UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Safeguarding and Contemporary Role of Historic Areas (1976) ']] and their surroundings, both in urban and rural environments, are increasingly affected by climate-change and various natural hazard events. Increasing their resilience through ‘preparedness’ interventions and securing their sustainable reconstruction in case of damage or destruction is essential to preserve their identity and economic, social and environmental functionality and to seamlessly transmit their historic value to new generations. However, interventions in historic areas are quite difficult and hence costly due to specific characteristics associated with heritage sites (such as artistic values, denser urban fabric, material compatibility requirements, higher vulnerability of materials and structures, difficulty in accessing the damaged areas, high symbolic values for communities involved, traditional lifestyles, etc.). Knowledge- and evidence-based approaches to resilience enhancement and reconstruction approaches are needed to increase the cost-effectiveness of these activities from the whole life cycle perspective.

The project results are expected to contribute to:

  • enhanced resilience and reduced vulnerability of historic areas to climate change and other natural hazards, also accounting for their synergistic impact;
  • improved reconstruction and economic and social recovery of historic areas by local authorities and communities through the use of new knowledge and tools.