A new guidebook for community involvement in heritage management

A new guidebook for community involvement in heritage management

“Heritage is only relevant, when it is relevant for the people”.

The Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC), founded in 1993, gathers 280 cities hosting sites included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Its aims are “to favor the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, to encourage co-operation and the exchange of information and expertise on matters of conservation and management as well as to develop a sense of solidarity among its member cities”.

OWHC has 8 Regional Secretariats, besides the General Secretariat in Québec. Since the ever increasing importance of the connection of local communities with cultural heritage, the Northwest Europe and North-America Regional Secretariat, based in Germany, has published the guidebook “Community Involvement in Heritage Management”, in cooperation with the Joint Project European Union / Council of Europe COMUS and EUROCITIES.

The guidebook, consisting of a theoretical background and case-studies, provides practical exemples in the following areas: Promotion & valorisation of Urban Heritage, Supporting owners in safeguarding their Urban Heritage, Use of Urban Heritage for community and cultural development, Participative development of actions, management plans, guidelines, policies for Urban Heritage.

In order to increase citizens involvement and connection with urban cultural heritage, the guidebook identifies three major objectives:

  • Recognise, understand, coordinate and balance needs of both local communities and urban heritage
  • Link, connect, communicate, empower to produce long-lasting benefits for the communities while safeguarding cultural heritage
  • Strengthen abilities and capacities to favor citizens engagement, also in decision making processes, in the preservation, management and promotion of urban heritage.

The guidebook refers to some theoretical approaches of community involvement in heritage management, people-centred approach to conservation (like Co-management (Reggers 2013; Office of  Environment and Heritage NSW 2015) and the Living Heritage model (Poulios 2014) and to the Communication model for built heritage assets-COBA, elaborated by the World Heritage Coordination Secretary “to increase the identification of citizens with their built heritage asset in order to get their support in allocating more resources to and preserving cultural heritage”, for the scoping of heritage communication  processes, their evaluation and improvement. The model proposes an identification process made up of 5 steps defined by the following indicators: the attitude of the “citizen” (A), the state of identification (B) and proficiency (C), the level of involvement (D), the communication efforts (E), the methodologies that can be applied (F). The 5 stages are the following ones:

  1. Definition of heritage assets
  2. Awareness of heritage assets
  3. Exploration: From Knowing to Doing
  4. Participation: Action-orientation and self-commitment
  5. Transfer: Expertise and assimilation of asset.

Within the process, the citizen can pass through the stages of being a recipient, stakeholder, multiplier, expert, lobbyist and, combining the 5 stages and the related indicators, the COBA model results as follows:


What was missing is a model that can be used to scope and structure local community involvement processes, and all of them of course start with communication” (page 68). This is even more important in view of the celebration of the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018.

L’Organizzazione delle Città Patrimonio Mondiale (Organization of World Heritage Cities – OWHC) ha recentemente pubblicato delle linee guida sul tema “Community Involvement and heritage management”. Un quadro teorico e interessanti casi studio con l’obiettivo di promuovere un maggior coinvolgimento dei cittadini nella gestione del patrimonio culturale urbano.

Can Wi-Fi Community save the world?

Can Wi-Fi Community save the world?

In today’s connected world, access to the internet should be an essential service, like water or electricity. And just like water and electricity, it should be available to everyone, regardless of circumstance.

Building entirely new networks, cities, supported by internet service providers and mobile carriers is good but it would be better if you are able to leverage already existing networks, like all the private residential Wi-Fi networks that are already spread throughout the city. Imagine turning every home currently connected to the internet into a mini Wi-Fi hotspot serving the public, so that anytime a subscriber walked past a participating home network their phones would automatically connect to that Wi-Fi network, thereby lessening their own data charges and significantly reducing the strain on mobile carrier networks. All this is made possible by home subscribers giving up a small, likely unused, percentage of their Wi-Fi to make it available for public use.

This kind of initiative started a couple of years ago in Spain, where Martin Varsavsky founded a company (Fon) with the mission of blanketing the world with Wi-Fi. Now Fon is an international company, supported by some of the world’s most important telcos (Google, Microsoft, British Telecom and Deutsche Telekom and Qualcomm) and in 2014 it broke the barrier with 14 million Fon hotspots.

This project is very important because it aims to help people overcome the barriers they might face when using technology, giving access to the internet to hundreds of people who currently can’t get online. That means you can check and send emails, use your social network, watch videos and browse the web, all without spending money.

Luckily, all over the world there are a lot of Wi-Fi communities that have a common, simple and fast operation. First of all, it is necessary to join the community and there are two ways to go: either you are a customer of the company that provides broadband services (in this case, by agreeing to get free and unlimited access to other consumers’ hotspots) or you have to buy pre-paid vouchers or subscriptions to be part of the Wi-Fi community. Secondly, you must download the dedicated app for smartphones and tablets where entering your username and password. Once installed, the app will use your location to show a list of nearby free hotspots that can be in bars, hotels, shops, schools, hospitals, banks but also in private homes. Finally, when you choose your favorite hotspot, you are connected and you can surf the net.

In addition to this, as Alison Powell pointed out in 2011, Wi-Fi communities could have a positive outcome on civic culture because it is clear that these projects are able to “motivate volunteers to participate in building technology and working towards shared social goals. They also hold the potential to shift the provision of communications access away from corporate and towards more public interest models”.

The World Bank estimates that for every 10% penetration of internet access, a country’s GDP grows by 1,28%, so it is useful to work with local, provincial and national government to provide Wi-Fi in communities for the purpose of education, economic development and social inclusion, enabling access to the internet as a catalyst for change. Community Wi-Fi holds a lot of potential for enabling a functional connected future, where the barriers between private and public Wi-Fi blur to the extent that both humans and machines are able to be constantly and reliably connected. The key to ensuring that the connected city, and indeed the connected world works, is to make sure that just as the traffic on our streets is regulated, so too is the data traffic in our air.



Il futuro della diffusione della “connettività per tutti” non risiede solo negli investimenti infrastrutturali delle grandi compagnie del settore tech ma anche nella condivisione della connessione privata dei vari utenti. Le Wi-Fi Community, in modo spontaneo, stanno riuscendo sempre di più a fornire l’accesso ad Internet a milioni di persone in tutto il mondo che altrimenti non ne avrebbero la possibilità


It is time for FORUM PA 2017

It is time for FORUM PA 2017

What is the role that public administrations should – and must – have in the creation of a new economic development paradigm able to generate sustainable and equitable wellbeing? This question will be at the heart of the series of conferences and workshops organized within the framework of FORUM PA 2017, which will take place from the 23rd to the 25th of May in Rome.

The common thread will be given by the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development and by the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that the General Assembly of the United Nations aims to achieve by 2030.

Within this general framework, the participants will discuss the importance of innovating public administration in order to provide answers to the pressing and ever growing issues faced by citizens. From unemployment to the right to health care, from raising inequalities to concerns about security, and much more. It is important for the PA to speak not only about itself and with itself, but to focus instead on why this innovation is deeply needed.

To be able to address these complex themes, the program of the convention is organized into 4 different kind of events: “scenarios”, “thematic conferences, “workshops” and “academies”. The complete program of the event is available here.

LabGov will take part in several events:

On the 23rd Professor Christian Iaione, LabGov’s coordinator, together with Giovanni Vetritto, from  the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, will be chair of a conference titled “Sharing and Local Public Services”, which will take place from 9h30 to 11h30.

In the afternoon, from 14h30 to 18h00, we will be present during the conference “Social Innovation and Municipalities: from experimentations to policies”, promoted in collaboration with ANG, ANCI and RENA.

On the 24th Professor Christian Iaione will be chair of a conference titled “PARTICIPATION: models, policies and interventions in Italian cities”, an event which is developed within the framework of the Integrated project on Participation and Communication promoted by the Municipality of Palermo, which will be represented during the conference by Giusto Catania, Councillor for Participation, Communication, Decentralization, Demographic Services and Migration. The event will take place from 11h45 to 13h30.

On the 25th, during the national meeting of Italian cities participating in the URBACT network, which will go on from 11h00 to 14h00, Professor Christian Iaione will give a speech on the topic “Italian cities, between innovation and participation”.




FORUM PA 2017 sta per iniziare: dal 23 al 25 maggio a Roma si terranno una serie di conferenze e workshops, attraverso cui si affronterà il tema dell’innovazione nella pubblica amministrazione. L’interrogativo con cui questa edizione di FORUM PA vuole confrontarsi è quello del ruolo che le amministrazioni pubbliche possono e devono avere nella costruzione di uno sviluppo economico e sociale che garantisca benessere equo e sostenibile.

Il programma completo dell’evento è disponibile qui.



“URBANA. Quality of life and social innovation in Milan”: when sociology goes to town.

“URBANA. Quality of life and social innovation in Milan”: when sociology goes to town.



Since its birth in 1999, the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Milano-Bicocca has promoted sociological research and scientific investigation of contemporary society, following its changes, with a special focus on the city of Milan.

From May 4th to May 7th  2017, the sociologists and the social scientists of the Department shared and presented their researches, analysis and investigations to the citizens of Milan, within the framework of the initiative “URBANA. Quality of life and social innovation in Milan”. The initiative, coordinated by the Department Director, Prof. Giampaolo Nuvolati, was promoted and organized by the Department under the patronage of the Municipality of Milan and the University Milano-Bicocca; with the aim of bringing university and sociology from the suburban Bicocca neighborhood to the core of the city, and in this way to strengthen and consolidate the relation between the university and the city.

Photo Credit: Simone Barbagallo

Four days of city storytelling to describe its changes through different languages and perspectives, in some of the main representative locations of Milan, with more than 100 experts, social scientists, sociologists, journalists, artists and performers, for a total of 24 free entry appointments. The event, touched many different topics, such as violence, food, gender, ageing, mobility, sharing economy, health, security, job market, sustainability and metropolitan city among others. Not only conferences and workshops but also artistic installations, music and theater performances, that gathered more than 1000 enthusiastic participants. The events was divided into four main macro themes:


  • a creative breakfast with sociologists and practitioners to talk about food policies, a topic of great interest in the current international debate;
  • a seminar at ‘Fabbrica del Vapore’ on the international positioning of the city with the professor Roberto Camagni to reply to the question: is Milan a global city?;
  • two interesting moments to discuss about flexibility, innovation and rights in the cognitive capitalism, with many experts from different fields: the first one at the new headquarter of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation to reflect on the new forms of self-employment and on the topic of the modern representation, and the second one hosted by Impact hub, one renowned local coworking, to analyze the new spaces of work that are rising in the sharing economy era with a special intervention of the council member Tajani (Labor Policy, Production Activities, Trade and Human Resources)
  • Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation hosted also a round table on the topic of social innovation and on the current state of the sharing economy in Milan with some of the main experts in the city and the participation of local practitioners;
  • the conference ‘Feed the City’ to discuss the relation between city and countryside, the topic of the waste of food, the innovations in agriculture and the political perspectives of the local government in the metropolitan city, hosted at the EU Parliament Headquarters of Milan;
  • a double event inside Trotter Park to discuss of art and politic as transformative practices with the participation of the master Michelangelo Pistoletto (painter, action and object artist, and art theorist) together with experts on public spaces and musicians;

Photo Credit: Simone Barbagallo


  • a conference on the topics of health, prevention, participation, promotion in the city hold at the local Health Care Agency;
  • three events with prisoners at the three Milanese jails to connect the city and the jails and underline the importance of this connection: the first day a music performance of the San Vittore Choir (Memory House of Milan), the second day a theatrical show with the detained of Bollate Jail (Trade Union); and the third day an artistic happening with the Opera detained in collaboration with the Brera Academy (Ex Church of San Carpoforo);
  • a conference to analyze the relation between economic competitiveness and social inclusion with the participation of council members and experts on the topic, to deepen the theme of the social city in the urban agenda and to present the second Report on cities: “ The Urban Agendas in The Italian Cities” by Urban@it;

Photo Credit: Simone Barbagallo


  • three meetings to deep the issue of domestic violence with Caritas Ambrosiana, Rete Antiviolenza Milano and SVS Donna Aiuta Donna Onlus. For the occasion the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was transformed for a day in a labyrinth as violence metaphor: enter is easy, exit no;
  • a rendezvous to discuss the opportunities for women in the city of Milan with many local success women in different field;
  • a seminar to talk about active ageing with the main local stakeholders and to promote forms of elderly participation;
  • a day voted to young people and their artistic abilities in terms of resilience with the participation of youth involved in the project MiGeneration Lab of the Municipality of Milan.
  • at the presence of the Public Prosecutor of the Republic, Armando Spataro, a moment of reflection on the history of the local criminality and on the perception of citizens with speeches from criminologists, sociologists and journalists, at the ‘Casa della Memoria’ (Memory House of Milan);


Photo Credit: Simone Barbagallo


  • a debate on the topic of mobility to reason of new urban populations, new uses of the cities and new forms of mobility hosted at Spazio Avanzi – Barra A @ Upcycle Milano Bike Café;
  • continuing with the subject of mobility, the Rossignoli Atelier, one of the last place in Milan for the artisanal production of bicycles, hosted a workshop on the history and the evolution of the bike in the contemporary society, its use as geographical tool of exploration and its agonistic dimension, with a closing demonstration of how to assemble a bike.
  • a conference to discuss the creation of the Metropolitan City, its potentialities and risks, with some contributors at the drafting of the Delrio Law and experts on the topic in partnership with the Centro Studi Grande Milano, the Metropolitan City of Milan and the Navigli Institute;
  • The last event of the initiative was an incredible interactive performance with a local theater company (‘Teatro degli Incontri’) that guided 80 participants in the area of Via Padova involving people in finesse acts to re-discover the beauty of the city.

In addition, URBANA proposed also a metropolitan walk “So far, so close: walks in the Bicocca neighborhood” to explore the historical places that marked the life of this industrial area, and to understand its processes of regeneration. The walk was guided by Ph.D Student and researchers in Urban Studies.

As underlined by the Department Director, URBANA powered the subject of the quality of life identifying the needs of the population as well as innovative solutions and it has been the opportunity for many citizens to approach new topics or to deepen old issues. The Vice-Mayor, Anna Scavuzzo (also council member for education, university and research), took part to some of the events and stressed the important role of the universities also outside their doors, as engineer of innovation, research and scientific method underling their ability to text, experiment and activate, together with the local institutions and associations, new ways to make Milan more beautiful, open and  livable.

All the information about the event are available at the link: www.urbana.sociologia.unimib.it


Dal 4 al 7 maggio 2017 Milano è stato un palcoscenico diffuso per la sociologia e le scienze sociali. Il Dipartimento di Sociologia e Ricerca Sociale dell’Università Milano-Bicocca ha infatti promosso ed organizzato, con il patrocinio del Comune di Milano e dello stesso Ateneo, una rassegna per portare la sociologia in città e affrontare i temi del cambiamento urbano, le problematiche sociali e le soluzioni possibili. 24 eventi in 4 giorni con oltre 100 esperti, tra sociologi, scienziati sociali, antropologi, criminologi, giornalisti, performers ecc hanno animato la città coinvolgendo oltre 1000 partecipanti. La rassegna ha rappresentato una grande occasione di conoscenza, confronto e connessione tra l’università e la città.

Trans Europe Halles, Sharing Culture & Communities

‘Culture and Sharing Communities’. This is the topic of the next Conference of Trans Europe Halles TEH, a Europe-based network of cultural centres initiated by citizens and artists, that will be held in Pula, Croatia from 25th to 28th May 2017.

4 days to discuss and exchange on the role and practices of independent cultural centres in sharing culture and contributing to community development. Socio-cultural centres are in fact increasingly becoming social innovators, enabling inclusion and co-creation, democratization, re-evaluation of social values and changing social paradigms.

In order to “examine the relationship between culture and sharing communities with the aim to create responsible communities that stand in solidarity with one another while supporting a better quality of life for the community“, the conference will cover four main topics: Culture of Involvement; Sharing in Art & Education; Open Spaces for Sharing and Imagination; Communities of Practice. Additional specific workshops will deal with interesting challenges such as sharing in cultural productions towards sustainable art platforms, developing digital inclusion in a creative and innovative way, promoting time banking as a tool to engage and build with a creative community, enhancing civic design and collective intelligence, crowdfunding and community empowerment, developing long term forms of collective ownership in sharing the city.

Besides the meeting, in the past few months Trans Europe Halles has been conducting a mapping project of non-governmental cultural centres around Europe, that counted 770 centres so far. It is still possible to expand the map by submitting other centres.

The network also supports independent cultural organisations, as well as local and regional bodies, through consultancy activities and dedicated project. For instance, TEH is also partner of Creative lenses, a four-year (2015-2019) project funded by the Creative Europe Programme and developed by a partnership of 13 organisations from 9 European countries, including cultural centres and agencies, international networks, universities and creative business incubators. The project aims to improve the business capacity and financial sustainability of cultural organisations, a vital issue in such a critical time, by testing and providing innovative business models.

TEH is also key partner of Europe Grand Central, “a unique digital and conceptual platform to connect audience-created narratives about the human act of crossing borders” launched in 2015. It gathers and connects many grass-roots projects developed by independent cultural centres in Europe and beyond, it promotes mutual learning as well as audience inclusion, through different tools from artistic residencies to interactive theatre, design etc.

Last January, Trans Europe Halles also signed, together with other 32 institutions, the political statement of the European Alliance for Culture and the Arts calling European institutions and Member States to include culture and the arts in the strategic goals of the Union. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties, the signatories stated that “Culture and the arts are the basis of the European project and moreover the essence of every civilizational development. They are substantially important to our identity, give meaning to human existence and reflect our shared history. European culture and the arts refer to 3000 years of shared cultural heritage while bringing contemporary relevance to people’s lives today. Flourishing in dialogue with other cultures, they reflect our “living together”, interconnect people in society, and transmit knowledge and values. (…) Culture and the arts constitute a vital lever for developing the Union’s future project”.


“Culture & sharing communities”, questo il tema della prossima conferenza di Trans Europe Halles, la rete europea dei centri culturali indipendenti, che si terrà in Croazia dal 25 al 28 maggio. Varie le attività e i progetti europei che il network porta avanti a sostegno di questi centri, attori sempre più importanti dell’innovazione sociale.