Open Heritage: Participatory governance of cultural heritage to foster local sustainable development

Open Heritage: Participatory governance of cultural heritage to foster local sustainable development

LabGov, together with LUISS University, is part of the interdisciplinary consortium for the realization of the H2020 project “Open Heritage”.


Figure 1. Consortium partners at the end of the second consortium meeting, Barcelona. Credits to: Open Heritage team


As already analyzed in a previous article [1] and as can be seen from the name of the project, it is based on an open definition of culture and cultural heritage, according to which not only listed assets and historic buildings, but also all buildings, spaces and goods which have a symbolic or practical value for the local communities are considered cultural resources to preserve and valorize. The community dimension is one of the main pillars of the project, as well as resource and regional integration, and it is based on the definition of heritage community contained in the Article 2b of the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society (Faro, 27th October 2005) [2]. In the project, indeed, local communities, together with all the other actors part of the quintuple helix model (public institutions, businesses, social innovators, cognitive institutions) [3], are called to play an active and fundamental role in the regeneration and governance of cultural heritage.

Culture and cultural heritage, on the one hand, represent important tools to foster a local sustainable development and to create a more inclusive and fairer environment. On the other hand, a participatory governance of cultural resources, as also highlighted by the United Nations (2007), is one of the best strategies to boost social and economic development, due to the decisive contribution that participation makes in reinforcing democracy, empowering citizens and their social capital by guaranteeing more efficiency and equity through the community participation [4].


Second consortium meeting in Barcelona (28 – 29 November 2018)

The second consortium meeting has been hosted by Platoniq, one of the project partners, at La Fàbrica de Creació de Barcelona, an interesting example of urban regeneration. It was, indeed, an old industrial building which was abandoned at the end of the 70s and recovered in 2009 into a meeting and working point for all the artists of the city.


Figure 2 Fàbrica de Creació, Barcelona. Credits to:

During these two full and inspiring days, partners have worked in group to co-design new governance and funding models for community-run heritage regeneration. It has been an important occasion to share the progresses of each WPs work and research, and to define together the solutions to the main challenges partners are facing in carrying out their research activities.


Figure 3 Working session during the 2nd consortium meeting, Barcelona. Credits to: Open Heritage team


The birth of the first neighborhood cooperative in Rome: the first important result of the Roman CHL

On the 19th of December 2018 the first neighborhood cooperative was born in Rome, more precisely in a complex urban area of the periphery of Rome composed by the neighborhoods of Alessandrino, Centocelle, and Torre Spaccata, characterized by the lowest human development index and the highest rates of poverty. It is the first important result among the activities conducted by the Roman Cooperative Heritage Lab, that LUISS – LabGov team is coordinating. It is also the result of an intense work conducted by LabGov, in collaboration with ENEA, within the wider project Co – Roma in order to create a smart collaborative district . Three main strands of work have been individuated by the cooperative: cultural activities and integrated tourism, circular economy, and collaborative neighborhood services. The cooperative, named CooperACTiva, is entirely managed by a group of active local citizens, and is aimed at offering more and better job opportunities and to overcome the digital, social and economic divide which strongly affects those areas.


Figure 4 The members of CooperACTiva, Rome. Credits to: Elena De Nictolis


[1] The article is available here :

[2] The entire text of the Convention is available here:

[3] The model of the quintuple helix system of urban governance is available in C. Iaione, The Co-city, The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2016

[4] Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Participatory governance and citizens’ engagement in policy development, service delivery and budgeting, 2007, p.4.

The II Edition of URBACT Good Practices Festival – Bari, September 28-29

The II Edition of URBACT Good Practices Festival – Bari, September 28-29

After the success of the first edition, the National Network of Local Authorities (ANCI) is organizing the II Edition of URBACT Good Practices Festivalin Bari, Italy. In an effort to share and learn from the most inspiringurban innovation projects happening in the URBACT cities, the Festival will welcome experts, administrators, mayors, and researchers from all over Europe and Italy.

Providing a platform for the main European programme on sustainable urban development, the URBACT Festival represents a unique brainstorming occasion for public officials and experts in order to reflect on the most pressing issues of Italian cities and local communities.

The event will transform Bari in an open laboratory, with conferences and presentations taking place all over the city, focusing on a wide range of themes, starting from social innovation, quality of life, and governance and protection of common goods, to sustainable tourism, urban regeneration and re-use of public spaces. The work sessions will be organized in diverse venues around the city of Bari, like the Officina degli Esordi and the Teatro Margherita.

Starting from the good practices developed thanks to the URBACT network and financing, the Festival will provide a concrete overview of the actions and the promising prospects for the future of European cities investing in innovation and citizens participation.

From Milan and Lisbon, to Amsterdam and Turin, together with all the Italian cities participating in the URBACT programme, this event will foster new ways of thinking the city, departing from communality, sociability, participation and alternative uses of space.

Inscriptions have opened yesterday and already more than 200 people are participating in the event. For more information and to sign up for free, visit the Eventbrite page of the Festival and choose the sessions in which you want to participate.

The birth of the Community for the Public Park of Centocelle: the importance of local communities in preserving cultural heritage.

The birth of the Community for the Public Park of Centocelle: the importance of local communities in preserving cultural heritage.

Over the past three years, LabGov has been working on the city of Rome on the conditions that favors and hampers the development of a smart co-district in a metropolitan city. This hypothesis was pursued with a complex research strategy that started in 2015, is still ongoing and consisted in an application through adaptation of the Co-City protocol in the City of Rome. Info and materials are available here: The first step was that of identifying a zone of urban experimentalism. The result of the first year of applied work resulted in the identification of an area, the Co-district “Roma Sud Est” composed of areas belonging to the V and VI Districts of the City of Rome, in particular the following neighborhoods: Alessandrino, Centocelle and Torre Spaccata. The Co-district “Roma Sud Est” represents a complex urban area because it is characterized by low indicators of social and economic fragility within the City of Rome. The VI District and in particular the urban area of Torre Spaccata presents the lowest level of Human Development Index, highest rates of poverty and of inequalities of the city. According to data on social and economic vulnerability of Rome’s neighborhoods these areas are inhabited mainly by elderly persons (more than 28% of the residents in Torre Spaccata); the Municipalities V and VI are the poorest in the city: the average income is 18.940 in the V, 17,069 in the VI; they have the lowest level of education: the average is 10.3 and 9.7 years respectively. The Human Development Index in the VI is the lowest in the city (0.455), slightly higher in the V (0.571). [1]After a long work of mapping and knowledge of the area through the organization of several cheap talks and site visits, LabGov started to collaborate with the local community and together they experimented new forms of collaborative urban governance.

The 1st December 2017 is an important date for this community, which is working for the preservation of the Archaeological Public Park of Centocelle and for the entire district. It is, in fact, the day in which the “Community for the Public Park of Centocelle” (hereinafter: CPPC) was institutionalized as an NGO[2]. Before the constitution, a co-design session and several cheap talks on field have been organized by LabGovers, putting local communities and their needs at the center. A large number of inhabitants has participated at this process: together with innovation experts and service designers, they have analyzed the territory and their needs, but also how they could contribute to the regeneration of their neighborhoods. At the end of these labs, a group of citizens decided to self-organise and to set up an association for the purpose of preserving and regenerating the Public Park of Centocelle resource and its heritage, which was in a state of complete abandonment and deterioration.

Figure 1 Co-design Lab in Casa della Cultura Villa De Sanctis, 22nd september 2016. Source:

The CPPC is therefore the result of an intense work with the local community, based on the valorization and empowerment of its social capital.

According to the Statute of the CPPC, the work of the members will be based on the principles of civic collaboration and social responsibility towards the cultural heritage of the City of Rome. The CPPC is aimed, indeed at promoting and exploiting the historic, cultural and environmental heritage of the Archaeological Park of Centocelle, which is a complex resource: a cultural and environmental urban commons. It is for that reason that the CPPC has decided to initiate the procedures related to the recognition as Faro Community, taking inspiration by the principles of the Faro Convention signed in Faro on October 2015. As reported by the Council of Europe, a Faro Community “is a heritage community consisting of people who value specific aspects of cultural heritage which they wish, within the framework of public action, to sustain and transmit to future generations”. Hence, in order to transfer good practices also at the European level, the Association, among the different goals and activities set, is committed to organize regeneration activities in the Park, to promote walks and cultural activities such as workshop, meetings, aimed at involving the local community, increasing the participation and promoting a sustainable tourism and the creation of new cultural, social, polycentric and collaborative economies. For instance, the Community for the Public Park of Centocelle, in collaboration with others local NGOs like the Neighborhood Committee “Comitato di Quartiere di Torre Spaccata” and the NGO of bikers “Settimo Biciclettari” have organized several workshops about the archaeological and historic heritage of the area. The labs have taken place in several key places of the district and have been organized by important experts who have told the community the history of those places. Experimenting the culture as an entry point has been the main goal of these laboratories.

Moreover, CPPC is the community organizer of the “Civic Collaboration Day”, an all-day long itinerant journey throughout the co-district, during which several activities are organized: from walks to activities of community gardening, labs, kids’ games and concerts in order to cultivate the community and to live the neighborhoods in a different way. The third edition of the Civic Collaboration Day was held on May 5th 2018 in the so-called Co-District. During the day the CPPC, together with LabGov, LUISS University, ENEA and the Vth District of the City of Rome, have organized a heritage walk to promote a new way to live and discover the territory, thanks to the work done by the local community and new narratives of those places and who lives there, telling their histories, projects and experiences. Hundreds of persons have participated, walking or riding bikes, discovering the key places and taking part in several and different activities. The most exciting aspect of this day has been the wide participation and collaboration of local citizens in organizing the walk. Starting from the Park of Acquedotti in the neighborhood of Don Bosco, passing through Torre Spaccata, Centocelle and Tor Sapienza, the walk ended at FusoLab, in the Alessandrino neighborhood, which is a community hub that provides local services, organize cultural events and which works as a catalyst for the entire area and local community.

Figura 3 Heritage Walk during the Civic Collaboration Day, 5th May 2018. Source Facebook

In conclusion, it has been not only a walk, but the result of years of hard work of research and action carried out by experts, researchers and citizens to preserve and valorize the important heritage, of which they are the guardians.



[2]According to the reform of the so-called “third sector”, the law that regulates the social and not for profit sector approved in Italy on July 3rd 2017, “D.Lgs 3rd July 2017, n.117”

“Organizing, Promoting and Enabling Heritage Re-use through Inclusion, Technology, Access, Governance and Empowerment” (Open Heritage): a research project funded by Horizon 2020 for theorizing and testing inclusive governance models for adaptive heritage re-use

“Organizing, Promoting and Enabling Heritage Re-use through Inclusion, Technology, Access, Governance and Empowerment” (Open Heritage): a research project funded by Horizon 2020 for theorizing and testing inclusive governance models for adaptive heritage re-use

The Public Archaeological Park of Centocelle

LUISS University and LabGov have achieved an important goal at European level! They are, in fact, involved in the project “OpenHeritage” admitted to funding in the Horizon 2020 program: LUISS University is part of the interdisciplinary EU consortium for the realization of the project.

The project “Organizing, Promoting and ENabling HEritage Re-use through Inclusion, Technology, Access, Governance and Empowerment, (hereinafter: OpenHeritage)” aims at creating, testing and optimizing an inclusive governance model of adaptive heritage re-use and an interdisciplinary toolbox which will be tested in six diverse Cooperative Heritage Labs (CHLs) to produce usable and transferable results. The main idea behind the project is that abandoned or underused buildings, areas, which have a symbolic or practical value for heritage communities, represent also important instruments and opportunities to increase social cohesion, introduce innovative bottom-up economic activities and create employment opportunities.

Starting from the assumption that the heritage preservation and management efforts are often inefficient and unsustainable, and from the assumption that local communities can play an important role in solving this lack, the starting point of the project is the possibility of empowering the local community in the redevelopment process of cultural heritage sites. Hence, the work will be based on the concepts of heritage community and participatory culture. The methodology adopted is built on a case-study approach on the one hand, and an action research methodology on the other. An important goal of the project is the development of innovative financial tools in order to develop alternatives and to enable local communities and their actions to be economically sustainable.

The partnership

The project will be realized throughout four years (starting in June 2018/2021) by a large and diverse consortium composed by 16 participating organisations: Metropolitan Research InstituteEutropianUniversiteit GentNewcastle University, Humboldt Universität zu BerlinOddział Warszawski Stowarzyszenia ArchitektówICLEIEuroditeStiftung triasUniversita degli Studi Roma TreCenter for Urban History of East Central EuropeLUISS Libera Universita Internazionale Degli Studi Sociali Guido CarliPlatoniq Sistema CulturalCentral European UniversityCamara Municipal de LisboaTyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust. The lead partner and project coordinator is the Metropolitan Research Institute based in Budapest. LUISS University is a partner affiliated to the project through LabGov (LABoratory for the GOVernance of the Commons) and will bring a trans-disciplinary set of scholars; Christian Iaione (UniMarconi and LUISS school of Political Science, co-director of LUISS LabGov); Michele Sorice; (School of Political Science) Emiliana De Blasio (School of Political Science); Francesco Rullani; (School of Economy); Daniele Gallo (School of Law); Elena De Nictolis; (Phd Candidate, School of Political Science) and will bring on board other Phd students and post-doc researchers that will be selected in the upcoming months.  

The work plan and the role of LUISS-LabGov

The work plan consists in 6 working packages and the work is built around the following guidelines:

  1. Diagnose what works, and what does not, in the adaptive re-use of cultural heritage currently
  2. Identify the micro and macro level conditionality of good practice transferability
  3. Explore, create and test new tools and methods that advance the more efficient adaptive re-use of cultural heritage assets in term of societal value, economic and environmental sustainability
  4. Disseminate the results

LUISS University is involved in work packages number 2, 34, 5, 6 and 7: in  WP2, it will lead the task on the analysis of 16 Observatory Cases (OCs). The OCs are existing re-use cases, dispersed across Europe that provide the micro level perspective in the multi-level analytical framework of OpenHeritage. The OC analysis will be based on three main pillars of OpenHeritage:

  • community and stakeholder integration
  • resource integration  
  • regional integration

and will contribute to establishing new tools to support adaptive re-use, will provide ideas for the 6 CHLs and help to  identify the main bottlenecks and drivers of adaptive re-use today, also contributing to the work on the transferability matrix as well . The Luiss-LabGov team will play a major role in work package 4, which consists of setting up, managing and evaluating the six Cooperative Heritage Labs, which are adaptive re-use laboratories aimed at creating transferable and adaptable models across Europe. They are set up in different European regions covering several heritage types, having as a common denominator their collocation outside of main urban and touristic centres. One of the six CHLs selected is the Roman case of the Parco Arceologico of Centocelle, which is part of the wider project Co-Roma, carried out by LabGov in collaboration with ENEA, LUISS University and the local community. It is aimed at developing an idea of collaborative city by applying the five key design principles for the urban commons (urban co-governance, enabling state, experimentalism, poolism, tech justice) and more in general the CO-City Protocol, and creating a smart co-district. In the framework of the project the role of heritage will be explored as well, and new methods of using heritage as a catalyst for social development will be tried.

Steering Committee Meeting, LUISS University of Rome, June 14th 2018

First steps: the Open Heritage Consortium Meeting in Budapest (24-26 June 2018).

Work has already begun and in the past June, the project’s partners met in Budapest to know each other better, harmonise the approaches and working methods, and set out the guidelines for upcoming steps.

Several key words and concepts have arisen during the Open Heritage First Consortium Meeting, hosted by CEU, such as the important role played by cities in the field of open innovation, the concept of partnership as a new way of working and the importance of the evaluation process. The concepts of participatory heritage management and the possible uses of crowdsourcing were also explored. The days have been organized into site visits and several working sessions, during which the participants have started to define the next steps and strategies to be adopted and implemented during the next four years. They were full and interactive days: during the first day participants visited one of the six Cooperative Heritage Labs, the Pomáz-Nagykovácsi Cooperative Heritage Lab, and learned about the challenges of this peri-urban archaeological site.  The working sessions, instead, were held at CEU, at the end of which participants have participated in guided tours to the discovery of heritage re-use practices in contemporary Budapest.

Christian Darr, from Stiftung Trias, commented on the meeting that: “Within our first european research project we expected three days of work in Budapest – we haven’t been disappointed. But most of all it was really good to see motivated people from all over Europe – with different languages, educations, professions and experiences, but mostly with a common point of view and a strong basis for common work and plans – a little bit like meeting friends. Therefore we are very motivated and can’t wait to start with OpenHeritage!”

Picture from site Visit in Budapest, 26th June 2018

Working Session at CEU, Budapest,  25th June 2018

Un importante traguardo a livello europeo è stato raggiunto dall’Università LUISS Guido Carli insieme con LabGov. Sono, infatti, attivamente coinvolti nel progetto “Open Heritage”, finanziato dal programma europeo Horizon 2020: l’Università LUISS Guido Carli è una delle istituzioni facenti  parte del consorzio interdisciplinare europeo che provvederà alla realizzazione del progetto.

Il progetto Open Heritage (Organizing, Promoting and ENabling HEritage Re-use through Inclusion, Technology, Access, Governance and Empowerment) si occupa dei processi di rigenerazione del patrimonio urbano con un modello di sostenibilità basato sul coinvolgimento delle comunità locali.

A Scuola di Cucina Sostenibile!

A Scuola di Cucina Sostenibile!

Nella giornata di domani, Martedì 17 Gennaio alle ore 18.00, all’Università Luiss Guido Carli, avrà inizio il primo corso di cucina sostenibile con la nutrizionista Sara Farnetti. Si tratterà di un incontro introduttivo al corso di Well-being e sostenibilità durante il quale la mensa dell’Ateneo si trasformerà in un laboratorio gastronomico e i partecipanti potranno conoscere già nuove tecniche di cucina sana e sostenibile grazie allo show cooking di cucina vegetale realizzato dallo chef Simone Salvini.

Aprirà l’incontro il Direttore Generale Giovanni Lo Storto e terminerà con un aperitivo offerto a tutti i partecipanti e preparato dallo chef, utilizzando i prodotti biologici dell’orto condiviso Luiss.

L’obiettivo del laboratorio, a cui possono prender parte tutti gli studenti Triennali e a Ciclo Unico, è quello di promuovere una alimentazione sana e sostenibile, volta al benessere personale e dell’intera comunità. Mangiar sano è, infatti, un atto di responsabilità non solo nei nostri confronti, ma anche verso gli altri e tutto ciò che ci circonda. A partire da una corretta e sostenibile alimentazione, è possibile realizzare quel cambiamento di paradigma innovativo e sostenibile da un punto di vista ambientale, di cui sempre più ormai si sente la necessità.