Experience from the praxis: Lively historic urban landscape

Sonja Jilek / Matthias Rip

Every city along the Danube has its own history of development and pattern how it´s public and private buildings have been located and used during vibrant time span. There have been severe damages and losses during WWII but losses of substantial parts were also there before the war and continued during more recent times.  

During the last two to three decades there have been numerous buildings and living quarters brought to new life through renovation and reconstruction, even using the World Heritage Label for sustainable protection and development, accomplished and increasingly supported by more and more participation of local communities and their inhabitants in the development process.  Those examples and their new appearances show how attractive and also economically important they have become, building the backbone of cultural diversity and tourism along the Danube.

Civic participation is an important and vivid part of development and planning processes in historic urban landscapes, which started a few decades ago as a democratic innovation in order to guarantee as much public involvement as possible in decision making on the local, regional and state level. Real and democratic civic involvement is only possible under certain circumstances and relies on certain requirements. They need to be observed in order to get an effective and fruitful engagement of the citizens.

Main kinds of applied participatory innovations regarding development and planning processes are collaborative governance models, referenda, consent conferences, idea workshops or wisdom councils, which are effective tools in involving citizens on the local level facilitated by a trained moderator. Many of those instruments do not make decisions but give recommendations and therefore support the decision finding.  

The workshop focuses on use and re-use of historic buildings and landscapes, including the relationship between changes of use and public policy, including costs and added value – for example as a result of planning regulations and urban development. Increasing understanding of cultural values, valuation, interpretation, ethics and identity shall be discussed around all forms of cultural heritage (tangible, intangible, digital heritage).

Sonja Jilek, coordinator of the EUSDR cultural flagship project “Danube Limes UNESCO World Heritage”, will give an input on the international as well as the regional/local dimensions of the transnational initiative focusing mainly on the benefits for and involvement of the local actors and stakeholders and the implications for the wider civil society. Matthias Ripp, coordinator of the UNESCO WH Site “Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof”  and member of the European Heritage Panel and Regional Coordinator for the Organisation of Heritage Heritage Cities (OWHC), will share his experiences on an integrated heritage management approach, heritage communication and resilience factors of urban heritage.

The two inputs should lead into a wider discussion about different viewpoints, experiences and needs regarding the better involvement of civil society.


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