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Matters Ripp forwarded by Richard Unterman | July 31, 2017

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NEW: 7 Principles for heritage based urban development - Final publication of COMUS-Project available!

From Issue No. 260 | September 11, 2017

On-going efforts towards sustainable development require sound and innovative perspectives on human rights and democratic governance, beyond solely economic concerns. With the consideration of heritage as a social, economic and political resource, it is essential to develop a new way of looking at heritage, by setting the ground to reframe relations between all involved stakeholders. This has been done in the COMUS-Project.

Communities at the heart of heritage governance

In the context of eastern Europe, there are many small and medium-sized heritage towns with historic urban areas and valuable cultural heritage assets facing various challenges. Some of these challenges include economic downturns, emigration of skilled people, as well as ageing populations. Experience with participatory practices and local community engagement for the preservation and reactivation of the cultural heritage to support the cultural, socio-economic urban development is in its early stages. In this context, preserving and reactivating heritage sites – whether they are historic, spiritual or industrial – implies the double challenge of dealing with low investment in capacity and limited skills and resources. Sites that had previously been significant for their heritage value and importance for local or national identities became neglected or even derelict; others suffered due to the legacy of centralised planning systems and limited capacity and resources at the local level to deal with the growing responsibilities of decentralisation.

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