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Heritage Opportunities/Threats Within Mega-Events in Europe Changing Environments, New Challenges and Possible Solutions for Preservation in Mega-Events Embedded in Heritage-Rich European Cities

In the past, many cities used mega-events to support their investment plans, develop tourism, or improve their competitiveness. Until recently, the focus was put primarily on creating new infrastructure for sports or culture where such events could take place. At present, organisers of mega-events prefer using already existing objects, revitalising them or adopting them for new purposes. For historic heritage-rich cities this change (triggered both by cuts in city budgets as well as by a slower pace of urban expansion) represents an opportunity for development but also poses a threat to their cultural heritage.

The objective of HOMEE project, organised in an international partnership, is to better understand the relationship between mega-events and cultural heritage protection policy, as well as the impact of mega-events on heritage-rich cities. This objective is to be achieved through a broad literature review and analyses of case studies.

The research focus of the ICC in the project will be the case study of Wrocław – European Capital of Culture 2016. A comprehensive report based on Wrocław will i.a. identify major challenges and opportunities that lie before cities that organise mega-events, includingthe Italian Matera (European Capital of Culture 2019), involved as a partner of this project. In September 2019 Krakow will host a round table and a conference, which will summarise results of reports prepared by individual partners.

Analyses and Living Labs workshops, conducted during the ECOC 2019 in Matera, will serve as a basis for developing the HOMEE Charter – a document offering innovative recommendations and planning tools, promoting a more sensitive approach to heritage in organising initiatives and mega-events. This document will also improve the awareness of those who make decisions in matters of cultural heritage and mega-events on a local, national, and international level so that they clearly identify opportunities and threats stemming from planning and implementing mega-events and are more skilled in tackling these problems in the context of historic cities.

Project duration: 1 October 2018 – 30 September 2021

Finansed by Minister of Culture and National Heritage within JPICH Heritage in Changing Environments Programme – support for research on cultural heritage within Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage (JPI CH)

  • Politecnico di Milano – Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Italy (coordinator)
  • University of Hull – Culture, Place and Policy Institute, Great Britain
  • Neapolis University Pafos – Department of Architecture, Land and Environmental Science, Cyprus
  • The International Cultural Centre, Kraków, Poland
Associate partners:

University Network of the European Capitals of Culture (UNeECC), European Network on Cultural Management and Policy (ENCATC), Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (MiBACT), Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), National Heritage Institute, Kaunas European Capital of Culture, Matera Basilicata 2019 Foundation Matera, University of Basilicata Matera, Pafos District, Pafos 2017, Culture Zone Wrocław (before: IMPART 2016), City of Milan, Krakow Festival Office, Robert Palmer Consultants, the Moscow National Research
University Higher School of Economics, Cracow University of Economics, Poland

Research Questions:

1. What are the main blind spots in our current understanding of the relationship between cultural heritage and mega-event policies?
2. How do preservation and conservation policies deal with the threats and opportunities generated by megaevents in heritage-rich European cities?
3. Do key stakeholders in charge of mega-events and preservation policies have relevant operational knowledge and planning tools at their disposal? How to improve such tools and who should be involved in these decision–making processes?

The objectives of the research:

1. To provide better understanding of the relationships between mega-events and cultural heritage preservation policies through a study of past events in heritage-rich contexts;
2. To prepare cultural heritage and mega-event policy-makers at local, national and supranational levels to make explicit the opportunities and threats derived from planning and implementing mega-events and to better deal with them in the context of historic cities;
3. To engage local stakeholders and ensure their inclusion in decision-making processes to connect local interests with global cultural values.
4. Generate innovative guidelines and planning tools for promoting more heritage-sensitive initiatives and projects in cooperation with mega-event policy-makers working at different scales and at different levels.

Case studies to be analysed: Milan Expo 2015; Wrocław 2016 (ECOC); Hull 2017 UK City of Culture; Pafos 2017 (ECOC).

Key events of the project:
• Project launch meeting – more
• HOMEE Living Lab in Matera – more
Early research findings presented during 5th Heritage Forum of Central Europe - more

Mega-Events and Heritage -The experience of five European cities

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