RURITAGE Paradigm. Phase I: Knowledge Building

RURITAGE project aims to create a new paradigm for the regeneration of the rural space by using its unique Cultural and Natural Heritage (CNH) as a driver to boost sustainable development and increase competitiveness. To achieve this, RURITAGE created a unique methodology based on four phases: Knowledge Building, Knowledge Transfer, Evidence Building & Demonstration and Replication & Up-Scaling which will be further detailed in upcoming articles.

The RURITAGE innovative methodology

The initial stage of RURITAGE paradigm is Knowledge Building. During this stage a comprehensive analysis, systematic documentation and mapping of the successful heritage-led rural regeneration strategies put in place by the thirteen selected Role Models was conducted. In short, the role-models were studied in light of the six Systemic Innovation Areas (SIA) in order to gather Practices and Lessons Learned to be applied by the Replicators. This process is made in close collaboration between the Knowledge Facilitator Partners (KFP) and the Role Models.

RURITAGE Knowledge Building phase can be divided into several complementary tasks. The first, is building of the RURITAGE Practices Repository, an online database that gathers all of the best practices from the Role-Models, which started by gathering and systematizing data obtained from their study, organised by Systemic Innovation Area. For this, three data gathering campaigns were conducted.

The first campaign was essential to map the Key Success Factors that make each of the role-models a success case of rural regeneration. It served as a starting point to obtain general information on the role-models, such as an initial overview of their best practices, understanding their context and overall regeneration process, identify their heritage resources and the potential stakeholders involved.

In the second campaign, role-models were analysed in light of the eleven cross-cutting themes covered by the six SIA’s. The objective was to cluster the role-models so that the relevance of these eleven themes in the regeneration strategy of each role-model was highlighted.

Finally a third campaign was conducted in order to validate and bridge the gaps of information. 

The end result of this task was the RURITAGE Practices Repository where a total of 94 best practices extracted from all role-models are gathered: 13 practices were identified in the Pilgrimage SIA, 27 in the Sustainable Local Food Production SIA, 7 in Migration SIA, 15 practices in Arts and Festival SIA, 16 in Resilience SIA (4RMs) and other 16 practices in the Integrated Landscape Management SIA.

To extract the innovative solutions that make role-model regeneration strategies successful these practices were further analysed to create the RURITAGE Inventory of Lessons Learned, organised in light of the eleven cross-cutting themes but clustered by the areas of knowledge/action that make a successful Role Model: 1) Governance and Collaboration, 2) Business & financing mechanisms, 3) Identity & branding, 4) New & old technologies, 5) Sustainability, 6) Safety & inclusion, 7) Knowledge building and legal framework.

The elements of a successful Role-Model

This analysis identified a total of 70 common “lessons learned”, considered to be replicable specific strategies by Replicators. Finally a data visualization tool was created, the RURITAGE Atlas. It consists of a web-based Geographic Information Systems tool where georeferenced data such as maps, photographs, 3D models and other images and information are spatialized and displayed. The tool offers the possibility for the user to focus either on a Role-Model or Replicator, on one SIA or on common features and obtain data. Togehter with the RURITAGE Repository of Lessons Learned, it will be available as a part of RURITAGE Resource Ecosystem.

The knowledge Building phase is therefore the base on which the whole project was built upon, allowing all the involved partners to obtain, share and use the information in a collaborative and multidirectional way.

Know more about Knowledge Exchange and Evidence Building & Demonstration, the other phases of RURITAGE, in our next articles and public webinars.

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