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Charter For Mega-Events in Heritage-Rich Cities
How can heritage-rich cities host mega-events so that they take full advantage of their heritage without putting it at risk? The Charter aims at solving this kind of question for city decision makers and event organisers by providing principles and recommendations on how to avoid pitfalls and engage heritage resources whilst safeguarding their values. The development of the Charter has been based on a literature research and extensive case studies, with the conclusions validated by experts in the field through a series of workshops.


The Charter for Mega-Events in Heritage-Rich Cities provides principles and recommendations that can help cities take advantage of the opportunities offered by mega-events and mitigate their risks. The Charter explores issues ranging from the new uses and physical stresses that mega-events can introduce in historic areas to changes in the understanding of heritage spaces. It explores the challenges for the local governance of mega-events.

Local policymakers can refer to the Charter's recommendations from the initial bidding stages for cultural mega-events like Capital/City of Culture programmes and throughout the planning of the event and its legacy. More broadly, the Charter can be useful for organising other large cultural events, festivals, and sports mega-events that interact with cities' tangible and intangible heritage.

The Charter consists of 13 key principles representing the Charter’s core values, structured within the four themes: Context matters; Planning legacies; Inclusive governance; Communities and identities.

The accompanying Key concepts provides readers short definitions of the Charter's terms. Finally, the Snapshots section gives concrete examples of each of the 13 principles, presenting the cases in which they were observed. These snapshot views of both successful cases and also more critical aspects can assist policymakers and event organizers with best practices, key issues and missed opportunities from which to learn. 

Watch video Introducing the Charter for Mega-events in Heritage-rich Cities

Context matters

The different planning systems and institutional settings in place represent significant aspects, specifically in terms of what can or cannot be accomplished through mega-events in relation to heritage.

Planning legacies

The identification of tangible and intangible heritage suggests a long-term time frame in the envisioning and planning of mega-events in such spaces. Spatial plans and development strategies of hosting cities are crucial inasmuch for the delivery of the event as their potential to intersect with heritage places and cultural policy.
Inclusive governance

Inclusive governance

Mega-events in heritage-rich cities typically imply complex interactions with differing heritage policy actors and stakeholders. The governance of such processes is crucial for both delivering  mega-events and for protecting and improving heritage places and values.

Communities and identities

Modifying the balance and the consolidated uses and meanings attached to heritage can generate frictions or ignite conflict between different groups. Mega-events planning can anticipate such conflicts and address them through cultural activities, the arts, events and creatively generating new platforms for dialogue.
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