Luiss Debates – Civic Engagement, Heritage and Sustainability

The Luiss viale Romania Campus hosted the Luiss Debate “Civic Engagement, Heritage and Sustainability” organized by the Luiss School of Law and Luiss LabGov.City in collaboration with the Roma Tre University Architecture Department and Eutropian.Org. The Debate was organized in the framework of the Third Consortium Meeting of the Horizon 2020 project “Open Heritage” ( ), that aims at creating sustainable models of heritage asset management by putting the idea of inclusive governance of cultural heritage sites together with development of heritage communities at its center (it involves an open definition of heritage, not limited to listed assets but also involving those buildings, complexes, and spaces that have a symbolic or practical significance for local or trans-local heritage communities). This means empowering the community in the processes of adaptive reuse. LabGov – Luiss is part of the project, thanks to its engaged research conducted in Rome. 

Luiss Rector, Andrea Prencipe, opened the meeting underlining the importance of the three key words: Sustainability, a crucial theme in these days; Heritage, as Rome is the homeland of cultural heritage; and Civicness, as Luiss students must be Engaged and good Citizens before being professionals. 

The Vice Dean of the Department of Law Antonio Punzi continued exposing how relevant are civic engagement, heritage and sustainability in innovating and updating the academic curricula of the Luiss Law Department, through the creation of a master degree in Law, Digital innovation and Sustainability. 

The debate, moderated by Raffaele Bifulco (Professor of Constitutional law – Department of Law Luiss University) continued following the keynote speeches from national and international scholars and members of European institutions, an interesting discussion on civil engagement and sustainability as cross-cutting principles for the governance of cultural heritage. Among the participants, Erminia Sciacchitano, Eu Commision DG Culture Policy Officier and Chief Scientific Advisor  EYCH 2018, exposed the new EU cultural policy framework underlining the crucial role of an Open Governance through the Urban Innovative Actions, an initiative of the EU that englobes all the pilot projects for sustainable urban development, launching the 5th call for proposals that will expire on December the 12th.

Mark Thatcher, Luiss Professor of Political Science, has deal with the link between identity and markets within the Eu Cultural Heritage. What he stated is that the “EU can create a cultural identity through markets, but markets are too technical and therefore lack of political participation and support”. In addition, he highlighted that, even though Europe is a young Union, this does not mean that a cohesive identity cannot be created. It is thus necessary to create a link between political identity and markets so to create a parallel european citizenship that does not overcome the national one. 

Luisella Pavan Woolfe, on behalf of the Council of Europe, exposed “the role of the Faro Convention for the promotion of equality, inclusion, and development of local communities and minorities trough heritage”. The focus was on the relevance of the role played by a community itself. As a consequence, it is essential to work together in order to preserve and protect the Cultural Heritage for the present and future generations.  

Moreoever, as underlined by Sandra Gizdulich, member of the Urban Agenda Partnership for Culture and Cultural Heritage and Italy Territorial Cohesion Agency, one cannot left behind the importance of preserving the quality of landscape. To do so, it is necessary to build a stronger environmental heritage. This is not an objective itself, but the greatest aim necessary to achieve social and ecological cohesion. She in facts added that as Urban Partnership on heritage they will launch an action on better regulation to apply the legal approach used by Turin, Bologna and Naples on commons.

The debate continued with Esmeralda Valente (Contemporary creativity and Urban Regeneration Directorate – Italian Ministry of Culture) presenting “Cultura Futuro Urbano”, an innovative public policy based on promoting the adequate conditions for citizens to improve their creativity and human talent. This is, in her words, one of the most ambitious projects launched by MiBact and it has been created with the scientific support of LabGov.City and the Luiss Business School.

Not to leave behind the Cultural Heritage’s role when dealing with Archaeology, Peter G. Gould, from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and Professor of Archaeology at the American University of Rome, explained the success factors associated with economic development projects within communities adjacent to archaeological and heritage sites. Under his view, the success of community projects is linked to the mechanism community members use to govern their projects activities. He also cited the work of Elinor Ostrom and her attention to the polycentricity principle. 

The Luiss Debate was concluded with the intervention of Giovanni Caudo, from the Roma Tre University’s Architecture Department and Elena De Nictolis post doc of the Department of Political Science. The Open Heritage project and the whole debate has shown that there is possible room for improving, thought the commons approach, trough better regulations, institutions and communities’ inclusion. All these realities are fundamental in creating a new regulatory framework, new policies, and in general an higher awareness and knowledge in managing the Cultural Heritage.  The Debated ended with the greetings of Professor Iaione.