A European Perspective on Cultural Heritage as a Driver for Sustainable Development and Regional Resilience

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050) within the section «Sustainability of Culture and Heritage» has been set up as a collaboration between SmartCulTour, IMPACTOUR, SPOT and RURITAGE H2020 Projects.

Within the framework of Europe’s Smart Specialization Strategies, it is important to identify to which extent and under which considerations a cultural heritage strategy can support an effective and sustainable regional development. Focusing specifically on European regions, this Special Issue gives particular relevance to the development of robust measurement frameworks on the sustainability and resilience of cultural heritage (tourism) destinations, past and future trends in transformative cultural tourism, successful interventions in cultural heritage management, and community-based management and planning.

Cultural heritage holds many tangible and intangible values for local communities and society in general. Particularly from a socioeconomic perspective, the presence of cultural heritage resources might serve to improve regional development through cultural tourism, event organization, the attraction of creative industries and other businesses, etc. However, notwithstanding the relative abundance of cultural heritage resources—in varying degrees of scope—there are substantial differences in the current application of culture-led development strategies across European regions.

The Special Issue is edited by Dr. Bart Neuts (KU Leuven, Belgium), Prof. Dr. João Martins (Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal), Prof. Dr. Milada Šťastná (Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic) and Dr. John Martin (University of Plymouth, UK) and will provide a state-of-the art overview of contemporary cultural heritage management within Europe, providing theoretical contributions as well as practical toolkits and case studies. Contributions will help to frame cultural heritage as a resource for the creation of sustainable and resilient territories.

Manuscripts can be submitted until 15 January 2021 here: www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form.

For more information: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/Regional_Resilience


European Research project to support regional development through sustainable cultural tourism

SmartCulTour (Smart Cultural Tourism as a Driver of Sustainable Development of European Regions) is a four-year project, funded by the European Union in the frame of Horizon 2020. The goal of SmartCulTour is to support regional development in all European regions with important tangible and intangible cultural assets, including those located in rural peripheries and the urban fringe, through sustainable cultural tourism.

SmartCulTour redefines cultural tourism through a contemporary lens and provides a comprehensive measurement framework for supply, demand and impacts. In order to support knowledge-led destination management, a decision-support system (DSS) will be developed for wide-scale monitoring purposes across European regions. The DSS will synthesize both traditional and non-traditional data sources, the latter particularly related tobig data analytics, thereby assisting smart regional development. Besides a contribution to conceptual development and cultural tourism measurement, the main objective of SmartCulTour relates to the facilitation of community-led rural development through field experimentation in 6 living labs. Prior to these living labs, a comprehensive desk research will identify significant sustainable cultural tourism policies, their impacts and critical success factors. These best cases will inspire a series of possible local interventions. Within the living labs, novel creative approaches to stakeholder engagement are tested, notably arts-based methods, serious games, and service design which will help to provide local context and support. A toolkit will be designed to help destinations implement local actions towards sustainable cultural tourism development. SmartCulTour will therefore contribute to theory development, empirical validation of best practices within a living labs setting, and procedural development, particularly by providing European regions with a set of strategies to optimally engage with stakeholders and co-create sustainable cultural tourism experiences.