RURITAGE Paradigm: Implementation of Heritage-Led Regeneration Strategies
Having gone through the Knowledge Building Phase, with the set-up of the Good Practices Repository, and implemented the Knowledge Transfer Phase (which is continuous during the whole project), the next step was to support Replicators in capitalizing that knowledge to design and implement sound and valuable heritage-led regeneration strategies. This process was done through a co-development process based on several workshops and activities to engage stakeholders. The objective is to contribute for the development of a deep sense of ownership and responsibility amongst the inhabitants of rural areas, mainly through engagement and collaboration with local stakeholders who represent key players in this task. During this implementation phase, the Replicators also received support in defining innovative business models and financial strategies based on the Lesson Learned from the Role-Models and through the use of the Canvas approach.
One of the key elements of this phase was the creation of the Rural Heritage Hubs, physical locations where the community of local stakeholders meets and participates in the co-development process. These were set by both Role Models and Replicators. In the case of Role Models the community of stakeholders includes all of those contributing to demonstrate the potential of heritage as a driver for sustainable growth and in the case of Replicators those that will guarantee an integrated, multi-stakeholder and transdisciplinary approach. Nineteen Rural Heritage Hubs and 1 Digital Rural Heritage Hub have now been established so far but other Hubs have been creating in those territories that have joined RURITAGE as Additional Replicators.
This co-development process takes the form of a heritage-led regeneration plan: a tool that allows to transform ideas into concrete actions that can actually produce a change. In this plan all the main steps of the co-development, starting from the baseline challenges to be tackled, the main objectives the community wants to achieve and ending in the definition of specific actions to be undertaken by Replicators, are laid out.
The co-development process is also tightly linked to the co-implementation of the actions, another key part of the entire process that allows Replicators to monitor and demonstrate the effects that the plan is producing to their stakeholders. The co-implementation phase is built on the definition of the Replicators baseline, the state of the art of their territory, and on a solid set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) tracked by a monitoring system that allows continuous evaluation and reporting of perceived impacts and effects. These KPI, together with the monitoring system are a valuable tool to provide quantifiable evidences of the potential role of Cultural and Natural Heritage as a driver for sustainable growth. This methodology is able of evaluating the development of action plans and to contribute for the establishment of future rural regeneration strategies by helping public authorities, policy makers or planners to take better informed decisions