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Rural regeneration through systemic heritage-led strategies

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - RURITAGE (Rural regeneration through systemic heritage-led strategies)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2021-06-01 do 2022-08-31

European rural areas embody outstanding examples of Cultural and Natural Heritage and play an important role in the European territory: 27.8% of the EU population lives in rural areas, 32% in so-called "intermediate" areas (suburbs, small towns...) and around 46.5% of EU ‘gross added value’ is created in intermediate and predominantly rural areas. On the other hand, they suffer from chronic economic, social and environmental problems - resulting in unemployment, disengagement, depopulation, marginalisation or loss of cultural, biological and landscape diversity – that threaten also Cultural and Natural Heritage resources.

In this framework, RURITAGE establishes an innovative heritage-led paradigm allowing rural communities to overturn this condition, by enhancing regeneration of rural areas and their sustainable growth building on the identification of 6 Systemic Innovation Areas (Pilgrimage, Sustainable Local Food Production, Migration, Art and festivals, Resilience, Integrated Landscape management) whose intersections constitute a European model of heritage-led rural development.

Through community-based activities, knowledge exchange, capacity building and the development of tailored heritage-based tools for supporting the rural areas in their regeneration process, RURITAGE will demonstrate that Cultural and Natural Heritage is a driver for development and competitiveness and will contribute to counter long-standing urban-rural unbalances and acknowledge Europe as world-leader in promoting innovative use of heritage for rural regeneration.
The first 18 months of the project have mainly been dedicated to map and extract knowledge from successful heritage-led regeneration schemes in Role Models (RMs) in order to codify Practices and Lessons Learned to be replicated in the Replicators (Rs). A total number of 97 place-based good practices for rural regeneration have been extracted by the analysis of the 13 partner Role models and of the 7 additional Role models that have been selected through an open call. Those practices have been further analyzed and distilled to identify 40 generalized Lessons Learned with reference to 11 cross-cutting themes.
A comprehensive qualitative and quantitative baseline of the state of the art of the Rs has been performed and a monitoring platform to assess the progresses in the sustainable growth of the Rs has been established. From the beginning of the project 19 Rural Heritage Hubs have been established in the Role Models and in the Replicators territories, to be conceived as the physical and symbolic place of RURITAGE activities aiming at involving all members of society and motivate them to participate in civic, social, economic and political activities at local level. Role Models and replicators’ knowledge transfer and capacities have been through learning and mentoring visits, dedicated knowledge-transfer workshops and continuous digital knowledge sharing and mutual learning. Through the knowledge generated in the first phase and through the capacity building process, the 6 RURITAGE Replicators involved in this first period all local communities of citizens and relevant stakeholders in an intensive phase of co-development of heritage-led regeneration strategies.

During the second reporting period, project partners have focused on four main activites specifically:

i) Replicators have been working on the implementation of their heritage-led regenration strategies, looking for adaptation according to the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemics. Despite the adaptation and deviations, all Rs are managing to implement most of the activities they had foreseen and they are providing data to monitor the impact of the heritage-led regeneration plan in their territories. The 6 plans included 42 actions that will be made available in the RURITAGE Decision Support System (DSS) and will feed into the Practices Repository.

ii) Role Models have been working on the co-development of their enhacement plans. This means that RMs developed additional 51 enhancement actions that will also be included in the Practices repository and DSS database. Moreover, although the implementation of RMs enhancement plans was not foreseen within the project, all RMs expressed a great interest in keep working on this task. Thus, RURITAGE partners asked for a formal amendment that extended the task duration and that would allow RMs to implement their enhancement plans.

iii) All partners have been working in updating, refining and make available the RURITAGE Reources Ecosystem and all the tools included there. Specifically, the ATLAS has a new interface and include all RMS and RS spatial data and the 6 Rs narratives, the DSS worked on a wizard to further navigate the Practices Repository and Lessons Learned, the monitoring platform is continuosly updated to show the performances of Rs, the co-monitoring tools are currently used by Rs, and the Digital Rural Heritage Hub has been used as ain important communication platform among project partners. The Replication Toolbox is now under development.

iv) All partners have been intensively working on dissemination actions at diverse level. At local level Rs and RMs have been runnning several local events, contacting local press and reaching the local communities. Also the photo context organized by RURITAGE, supported Rs and RMs in involving local communities. At regional level, RURITAGE is targeting EU regions to support them to include CNH into their RIS3. A workshop - breakfast@Sustainability has been organized in November 2020 and a call for regions followed, formally including 20 regions into the RURITAGE Board of Regions. At EU level, RURITAGE produced a vision paper 'Thinking beyond the COVID-19 crisis: heritage-based opportunities for rural regeneration' that highlighted some reflections about the future of rural areas after the first COVID-19 lockdown. Last project partners have been working to disseminate their results to the scientific community, publishing 7 additional scientific paper
The main ambition of RURITAGE is the creation of an innovative rural regeneration paradigm based on Cultural and Natural Heritage contributing to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental balance in rural areas. By proposing six Systemic Innovation Areas (SIAs), RURITAGE addresses heritage as part of a broader definition of cultural ecosystem services and underlines the impact of intangible benefit provided by CNH.

RURITAGE has already succeeded in boosting knowledge about CNH management and valorisation in rural areas by identifying practices and solution for heritage-led regeneration strategies and ensuring knowledge transfer, mutual learning and capacity building.

RURITAGE fosters participatory management, responsibility and ownership of CNH through co-creation, an approach that is less developed in rural areas. Through the collective community-management in place within the Rural Heritage Hubs, RURITAGE has already gathered many local stakeholders communities in a new forms of collaboration, engaging them in a participatory and community based heritage management and planning. Moreover, particular attention has been dedicated to forms of investment-driven CNH, aiming at enhancing economic development of rural areas.
The Launch of the Hub in Appignano del Tronto
Pilgrimage in Camino Santiago
Stakeholders in Apulia
All partners meet in Appignano del Tronto, October 2019