INT-HERIT Implementation’s Road

Info-grafic produced by the Lead Partner Coordination Team

The INT-HERIT project started in September 2017 in the lead city of Baena (Spain). Our trainings were held in Paris (France). The first training took place during the initial month of the project, but we also received two other training sessions in February and October 2018. 

The first transnational meeting took place in Armargh (Northern Ireland) in November 2017. Most transnational meetings were celebrated in 2018. The second transnational meeting took place in the Kortrijk region (Belgium); the third in Alba Iulia (Romania); the fourth in Espinho (Portugal); the fifth in Sigulda (Latvia); and the sixth in Dodoni (Greece). Finally, two other meetings were held in 2019: one in Cahors (France) and one in Mantova (Italy), which became the last conference and marked the end of the project. 

Throughout the project, we had the privilege of attending two URBACT City Festivals: one held in October 2017 in the city of Tallinn (Estonia) and the other held in September 2018 in Lisbon (Portugal). 

Project’s main dates
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Baena Castle

The Local group have had a different number of meetings where they had the possibility to discuss about heritage management at local level. This video explains the different views for the Castle.

video cases

Archaeological Park – Torreparedones

Torreparedones is an Ibero-Roman city that currently occupies more than 10 hectares in the municipality of Baena and, in less extension, the municipality of Castro del Río. In the last fifteen years, the City Council of Baena has bought the area of the site that is currently included in the Archaeological Park from its previous private owners. At the same time, the Council has also led, in collaboration with other institutional actors, a successful process of research, conservation and enhancement not exempt from challenges regarding these objectives and in general to the management mechanisms. The recent discovery by researchers of the University of Cordoba of a Roman amphitheatre has promoted further research and excavation works where public-private-social cooperation has proved to be successful and can so be a reference for future stable mechanisms of shared management by a wide network of stakeholders.



Travel Diary

INT-HERIT is a network of cities that share and learn together in the implementation scenario of their cultural heritage management strategies. A type of methodology poorly known and tested for the first time by the URBACT Programme. Both for URBACT and for the other actors involved (cities, experts, interested parties…) it was an unknown landscape. What has happened along the way, what lessons are drawn from the INT-HERIT network, especially from the eyes of a navigator placed in the internal team of the Leading Partner of the Consortium? A journey in several steps from handwritten notes in the travel notebook…

Step 1

Observe, monitor, analyse, evaluate, capture knowledge from the process of implementation of the plans. This is not a common practice of either the promoter of the plans, or those other external organisations financing them.

Typically, controls have focused on the administrative performance, not considering, in general, the opportunity to put in place a knowledge capturing and learning system or device. The task is, as a rule, of a controlling nature and designed to guarantee a good administrative praxis, but the potential to wear a different hat and sleuth for the gossip and rumours of the operational framework, the “small print” of the process and, in general, to initiate an exhaustive scan of the implementation metabolism of the plan is just forgotten. A banquet to be served by lawyers and accountants, but there are not many systems analysts, pedagogues or philosophers in its preparation, to name just some professions who love the method.

In this sense, the internal work dynamics themselves, within the experimental implementation networks promoted by URBACT, have been cooked over low heat. From the beginning, the landscape of the implementation was defined around the margins of the road where challenges, both mandatory and optional, are often waiting for those travelling implementation. There is no doubt that they were good landmarks too. Implementation voyagers can easily return to them if they get lost, to find them turned into transversal axes of knowledge, articulators of observation and reflective analysis, carved menhirs to guide pilgrims.

Once the path was marked, the cities within these networks needed an operating system. Different experts and stakeholders were called to design the internal mechanism, a necessarily slow process of construction and deconstruction of the parts, as if it were a Meccano set, until they came up with the precise organs that would eventually set up the Operational Implementation Framework.

But let us leave the method in peace and return to the cities and their plans.

Step 2

The plans or strategies are the starting point of the implementation race for the cities of the INT-HERIT network. Let us look back on the itinerary followed for the past two years and take some comments from our logbook:

  • The plan

Is it a plan when we talk about small cities and competencies that are not underlined as core municipal tasks such as heritage management? In many cases, they are unevenly connected and interconnected actions, given the high external dependence of these small local authorities in order to secure stable investment in objectives that go beyond their basic responsibilities. Between this apparent improvisation and the lack of a plan, reality forces us to be aware of the opportunities that external financing presents, as an interviewed mayor pointed out.

This being the case, the investment deficit is closely associated with the management deficit in all its components. Only municipal political commitment to safeguarding the hallmark of local heritage and, in short, to meeting human needs explains the cities engagement with cultural goods and hence with their citizens’ heart and soul. Pure European DNA.

In any case, with a more or less formal plan established, could you tell what are the expected results? What vision awaits at the end of the road, what scenario? Questions to strengthen the progress and prepare the trip, in sum.

  • The environment

Comme ci comme ça, the perception changes daily. The political and social framework surrounding heritage management in small municipalities can be seen as an impossible challenge or a commitment that cannot be postponed. Centralised management of heritage assets still carries great weight in a large number of European States. Even in those countries where the balance of powers allows for municipal intervention on municipally-owned assets, small cities are in general left to their own devices. There, vertical integration is not the prominent feature, save in exceptional cases, where the extraordinary quality of the assets or a skilled local management triggers this process. Neither is cultural tourism the magic solution, nor the manna that will heal the infirm municipal coffers when the offer spreads from all corners of the continent, the available resources are scarce, and consumers do not always choose this kind of tourism, even though statistics indicate global increases. In smaller municipalities, quite often this income is a bird of passage, unable to provide economic sustainability to the management of cultural goods.

In summary, a bird’s-eye view does not seem to give vital clues or magical solutions to guide implementation, clearing up the doubts to come. Is it better to take the risk and make progress in the management of an archaeological site or let this opportunity sleep the sleep of the just?

  • The operational framework

It is no coincidence that this point is at the heart of our journal. And what a pity that so very little attention is paid to the daily practice of municipal management. What little interest and what a lot of knowledge flowing into the waste stream.

If we emphasize the importance of the operational framework, it is because this is where we can appreciate the details of the small things. Here each piece, regardless of its size, is called to provide high-quality system performance or dangerously lead to failure.

Human and social values, behavioural patterns that should not be alien to management practices join the journey at this point on the road. Caution when it comes to undertaking certain investments or the regulated and scalable nature thereof, gains importance when weighing decisions. Anchoring socially and politically the steps to be taken, when talking about common heritage, is another applauded recommendation. The code for good implementers also includes a fair assessment of the surrounding constraints, and testing prototypes and pilot actions before drawing a highway to heaven. Everything is easier if done in good company, surrounded by professional teams with the know how to eventually cross the T’s and dot the I’s. It is essential to have the will, the effort and the commitment, they are the necessary fuel for the operational machinery to ascend when the road becomes steep. And if we have to change tack, we do. The important thing is that each long journey always begins with a first step and the path is made by walking. Learning from that is like the philosopher’s stone of implementation. A gem not always sought after.

  • Monitoring and tracking

As a result of the above mentioned circumstances, passengers find themselves playing a board game. The game of Implementation. That is what our wager is called and it casts us inescapably, like Alice in her Wonderland, into a bottomless abyss, a sinister black hole.

And it is not that we were not warned. Without indicators, data collection, gait recorders, risk analysts and evaluators of the implementation, falls can be resounding and so it happens too often.

Some common sense would not hurt. Huge excuses have been heard when again and again we have talked about this challenge with INT-HERIT stakeholders in nine European countries. Regardless of the magnitude of the investments, the quality and the formality of the management plans, the typology and character of their patrimonial assets, here is the feature common to all cities that, believe it, almost without exception proves the rule.

We refer to common sense because it shares this socialising feature with heritage and human beings. It is assumed that it accompanies us as human beings and, by extension, those goods that are, or should be, part of the common weal. It does not seem difficult to send, as a standard practice, information and data trackers, place some probes to capture impacts, take advantage of internal and external information nodes on the side of the simplest of roads. And yet, how passive the listening, almost deafness conducting this piece of the implemented concert.

Even at Programme level, it has been very difficult to glean some example cases, some stories showing effective solutions related to this monitoring hunger, as paradoxical as it is ignorant in the full bloom of big data. Recognition of our unenlightenment?

  • The performance

In this travel notebook the moment of execution motivates an anticipation movement. If, at the point of departure, the eye was invited to look in the distance at the implementation results, to specify them, once the gear unit is started up to execute the actions, the attention should not be distracted from the uses and users that results must reach and benefit.

Keep uses and users not only in mind but also, physically, in the space of the intervention. This is an advantageous warning for all seafarers that can prevent errors or imbalances in the final result.

This way, the risk of seeing infrastructures or facilities closed or implementation spaces that live in the limbo of broken dreams can be planned ahead, avoiding situations in which there is no backward step to take and no public way to follow. If the uses and users were at the control room from the starting line in this implementation trip, it would probably not be necessary to come to the rescue of any implementer arrested in the ‘in jail” square of the board, always eager to satisfy its hunger.

  • Lessons learnt

Slightly changing the indolent practice described at the beginning of this notebook, things should go better as regards knowledge management, namely also implementation management.

The road widens once saved the initial uneven part, and the gains can illustrate the decision making of all stakeholders involved in the game: political representatives, professional teams, interested parties, private entities, citizens and organised society.

The final stage in a long tour

Under the asphalt, there are people, organised groups and participatory governance. Under the pavement, as a deep yearning that underlies the flagstones of the implementation road to any plan, the participatory method ready to be endorsed and finally come to the surface to stay. Praised its necessity, nothing remains but to deepen the practice. Let the implementation process not be shipwrecked once offshore. This requires a method adapted to the changing and executive circumstances that govern it.

At the end and the beginning, in the absence of rigid plans, may at least come flexible, operational and monitored dynamics of implementation. Any port in a storm in the turbulent implementation scenario.

Article co-produced by Antonio Zafra Romero and Raquel Moreno Vicente


An interesting overview on particular points

Please find here The Hints & Tips Document for our project

video cases

Palazzo Te, Mantova.

On the 9th of May 2018 the public body “Associazione Centro Internazionale d’Arte e di Cultura di Palazzo Te” has become a private foundation, “Fondazione Palazzo Te”. Through this change a public private partnership was de facto established between the Municipality, owning the palace, and the foundation managing it. Thanks to this governance shift, the management of the pole will become more sustainable for the Municipality. The palace at the moment is undergoing some important restoration work, that will make it more welcoming to visitors and at the same time give new functions to some of the areas, that will be opened to the public for free, or have new business-related activities and host new cultural exhibitions and activities.

voxpop videos

Baena Heritage – Creating Citizenship

Thanks to the work during the project life, the Urbact Local Group have been able to build a new way of understanding the city’s heritage.

“Patrimonio vivo testimonio

que respira historia

que se sigue construyendo entre todos cada día.

Baena viva con cimientos de siglos.

Baena Patrimonio. Baena Cultura

¿A qué esperas para sentirlo?”

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Sigulda Castle Complex

The city of Sigulda (LV) has created an excellent multi-purpose space in the Sigulda Castle Complex.

In these video, we can listen to the experience of different merchants, such as Elizabete (with a ceramic workshop), Marina (producing leather artist), Antra (with a walking stick workshop) and Zinaida (with a paper art workshop). Everyone is grateful that this project has allowed merchants to produce and sell their products in their place of residence. Local residents and tourists appreciate their products and permit them to live at home in a comfortable way.

Long version
Trailer version
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Alba Iulia Citadel

The city of Alba Iulia is one of the most important urban centres of Romania, a place of monumental historical significance with monumental gems, such as the Apulum Roman camp, the Transilvania Princely Palace, the Catholic Cathedral, the Orthodox Cathedral, the Batthyaneum Library, the Museikon, the National Union Museums and the Union Hall in which the Romanian Nation was declared.

The INT-HERIT network organized a meeting in Alba Iulia with the partner cities involved in the URBACT III Project in order to analyze the effectiveness of the implementation of a cultural heritage strategy.

In this video, we can listen to the experiences of Carmen Preja (National Centre for Information and Tourism Promotion), Ciprian Dobra (Principia Museum) and Liviu Stanciu (ULG Member, Communication and PR Manager), talking about the importance of restoration and a marketing plan in order to increase the number of tourists and cash-flow in the city.

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Espinho City Hall’s Urban Rehabilitation

Int-Herit is a project that came to help the process of Espinho City Hall’s urban rehabilitation (Portugal), focusing on two fundamental projects:

  • the recovery of the Castro de Ovil, which was in ruins.
  • the intervention of RECAFE (The Re-qualification of the Espinho Railroad Canal) at the centre of the City, crossing all the city through the centre.

In the video, we can listen to the opinions of different stakeholders, such as Vicente Pinto (the Vice-Mayor Espinho Municipality), Joao Castelo (an arquitect), Alexandre Santos (the Director of Espinho Music Academy), José Pinho (a tradesman), Joaquim Meneses (a tradesman), José Luis (a restaurant manager), Isabel Tavares (who has historic store), and Filipe Pereira (a hotel manager).

All the people interviewed have great expectations and enthusiasm for the project. They feel development will improve commerce and bring more visitors. They emphasise the idea that the community as a whole must be integrated into these projects to succeed.