Peer Review: An useful learning tool during the implementation of activities in the INT-HERIT cities.

Peer Review is a helpful and frequently used methodology in the URBACT Programme as well as within the frame of the INT-HERIT Project.

Peer Review session

During the transnational meetings, peer reviews are organised to review the site visits. After the meeting, outputs and conclusions are presented in a bench-marking format in order to facilitate a cooperative learning process among the cities.
A good preparation is critical to a successful peer review. Usually the host city prepares a dossier presenting the most important features of the site and also proposes some questions that later the expert responsible to moderate the peer review session synthesises and concretes in some specific themes. Both the reviewer cities and the cities that are subject of the review are invited to do some home work prior to the meeting.

It is highly recommended that cities fully participate, test and carry out their role, either as “city under review” or as “reviewer city”, as well as that the session organisers carefully frame the issues and relevant questions in order to facilitate the activity and the collection of results. Some members of the local group are invited to participate actively in the peer review sessions taking place in the context of the INT-HERIT Project.

At the end of each session the different groups create their comments, that are conveniently recorded, and after their analysis by the expert responsible for the activity, they nourish a final report that is shared with all the participants and becomes a very valuable instrument for the organising city, thus having an external expert vision that can be incorporated into the implementation of its strategy.

During the transnational meeting held last February in the Kortrijk Region, hosted by the Intercomunale Leiedal, two peer review sessions were organized.

The first of them around TRANSFO, an old thermal power plant now converted to new functionalities of cultural, labour, sports or residential type. After 15 years of investment and hard work of the municipality of Zwevegem, Leiedal, the Province of West-Flanders and the Flemish Government, the Transfo site gains momentum: several initiatives and projects are in full development. The main challenge is to streamline and to integrate the growing number of initiatives and dynamics, without losing opportunities and to improve integration and final results. Two big issues were defined to focus the critical analysis by peers, coordinated by the project experts and the Intercommunale Leiedal staff: 1) How to implement an agile, collaborative (vertically and horizontally) integrated and sustainable governance framework for the site, and 2) How to keep (hi)story of the site alive, aligned and relevant. A peer review report has been produced by the Ad Hoc Expert of the project, Miguel Sousa.

The second has been focused on a more modest but equally attractive site in order to promote the sustainable management of cultural heritage. It is the case of the Spiere Pool. In 1935, the state built a factory between Spierebeek and Schelde, with the objective of testing water purification methods. On 18 May 1937, King Leopold III came to visit the water-treatment plant. The plans did not go through because it was too costly and caused too much pollution. The building was neglected and eventually transformed into a swimming pool. The Spiere swimming pool was the first swimming pool in Belgium and was in use until 1955. Meanwhile, the former swimming pool has been granted the status of a protected monument and will be restored for new purposes.

Attendants to the transnational meeting were invited to participate in a peer review session about the challenge of giving a new meaning and integrated programme to the Spiere outdoor swimming pool. A peer review report has been produced by the Ad Hoc Expert of the project. The report analyzes the potential of the site for different cultural, tourist and social uses and fits the results in the framework of some of the functions that the INT-HERIT project links with the management of cultural heritage, such as sustainability, the intrinsic values of the site , the role of the community or the potential for socioeconomic development.

This video with interesting images of both sites can complement the reading of the reports.


Cities’ Challenges in Cultural Heritage Management

A Historic Urban Landscape or HUL is an urban area understood  as  the  result  of  a  historic  layering  of  cultural  and  natural  values  and  attributes,  extending  beyond  the  notion  of  “historic  centre”  or  “ensemble”  to  include  the  broader  urban   context  and  its  geographical  setting’. It  builds  upon  the  assumption  that,  when  an  urban settlement is properly managed, initiatives, opportunities, and development can contribute to both quality of life and conservation of cultural heritage, while ensuring a social diversity and justness. (in UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape).

This concept laid down by UNESCO could be in any strategic plans of the cities participating in the INT-HERIT Implementation Network. Until recently, traditional urban conservation practices focused primarily, or sometimes exclusively, on the architectural monuments of the city. Nowadays, however, there is a broad recognition that a more inclusive and comprehensive approach is needed to identify and understand the urban values, which are at the heart of the identity and character of the city. In fact, cities participating in the INT-HERIT Implementation Network are already aware of the limitations of traditional policies towards cultural heritage whose main focus was on the rehabilitation of buildings while their use and valorisation was left to the final pages of the project dossier leading to a low impact of these projects in the city quality of life. Today every one acknowledges that this is not enough to really make noticeable changes in the city.  Conservation of cultural heritage is therefore regarded as an economic opportunity to foster social and economic development. This is particularly true in small to medium-size cities where limitation of resources (both financial and human) could hamper the necessary actions but these are the cities where the impact could be greater, i.e., cultural heritage could become a game changer for the city, able to transform the city. It is therefore important to support these cities in building proper tools to address conservation challenges.

After completing 6 months of phase II of the INT-HERIT project, having the chance to interconnect cities’s implementation processes in action, the main challenges faced by the cities are becoming clear:

  • How to promote engagement and mobilisation of local stakeholders and citizens?
  • How to develop and use innovative methods for culture management?
  • How to measure, monitor and evaluate impacts and changes in the city?

So, let’s take a quick tour across the 9 cities participating in INT-HERIT who, despite having different resources and focus, share a lot of common features and hence many common problems and challenges.

The city of Baena (Lead Partner) seats between olive fields (an important economic asset of the region) half way between Cordoba and Granada in Southern Spain. The city is focused on the implementation of a strategic plan for the medieval castle that was recently rehabilitated and for the important ibero-roman settlement of Torreparedones (video). Both projects opened new opportunities for the city but despite major investments in the rehabilitation of both sites in the last years it is still difficult to assess any measurable impacts in the city. This is partially because these projects need time to mature, from the renovation of sites, i.e. put the “hardware” operational to its use and valorisation, i.e., the layer above or  “software” which requires a different approach to implementation where an integrated vision and citizens’ engagement is mandatory. The challenge of the city is therefore to find the right management model in order to fully explore the real potential of valorisation of these cultural heritage sites. 

A similar situation can be found in the city of Dodoni in Greece, with its impressive and well-preserved theatre and sanctuary from Ancient Greece, one of the oldest oracles of antiquity (video) with enough potential alone to become a major touristic spot and an important driver for the local economy. With this in mind, the city council set up a developing project called “Cultural itineraries focusing on the ancient theatres of Epirus” to support its investments in infra-structures and promotion of the site. The main goal is to improve visitor experience and support business creation around tourism-related activities in the municipality but with scarce resources and lack of competences to deal with the private sector, the city is looking for straightforward methods to improve implementation of projects, namely improving its communication with citizens, making them aware of the opportunities  presented by the site, and developing competences in negotiating with private business partners in order to establish the right Public Private Partnerships to implement their vision for Dodoni.

Sigulda city in Latvia is also using its heritage sites to promote entrepreneurship and job creation while exploring its touristic potential. With their City Castle Complex Project (video) the city was able to raise funds to initiate the rehabilitation of the castle and surrounding buildings and is now trying to build a “layer” of animation activities and small businesses able to turn the site into a gathering place for locals and visitors for cultural, educational, creative and recreational purposes. Restored buildings will provide renting spaces at low rates for entrepreneurs while a new marketing campaign will hopefully bring more visitors. The city is therefore looking for new tools to efficiently reach these specific target groups and a management model that assures a balance between the private interest to participate and the public administration interest to ensure that the process altogether is economically viable.

The city of Alba Iulia, located at the heart of Transylvania, was once an important outpost of the Roman Empire and became the settlement of the Legio XIII Gemina in what is today the «Citadel» of the city (video). This fortified site has an array of relevant heritage buildings mostly connected with its previous military function. The city has made great efforts to rehabilitate several buildings in the site taking advantage of EU funds and the place becomes each year more lively and attracts more visitors, which is a good indicator regarding SROI. However, a coherent body of functions for buildings and their contribution so the overall vision is partially unknown or undefined.

This also happens in the city of Armagh, the so-called religious capital of Northern Ireland (video) which is initiating a vast rehabilitation project to regenerate key heritage buildings in the city to create an attractive centre both for visitors and local business. The city built a Masterplan to regenerate the city but to be successful, the city needs to clearly identify its strategic investment opportunities and articulate how and when these can be implemented in a coordinated fashion. The lack of enough accommodation and traffic congestion along the narrow City Centre streets are among the problems that need to be addressed in order to pursuit their vision of turning this historic city in a prime touristic destination in the UK. On the other side, citizens are still not fully involved in the process and the city faces difficulties in order to tune public ownership of heritage with their new functions under legal ownership of future private end-users.

Then there is the case of the city of Cahors in Southern France (video) and Mantova in Italy (video), the typical city-museum where the ensemble of ancient buildings forms a coherent urban body full of character. Both cities undertook vast renovation programmes in the last years to cope with a long list of heritage buildings desperately needing repair (an ongoing process) but need to complement these efforts with a clear development strategy for the renovated areas or buildings. Current projects are therefore looking for a proper integration of citizens in the process, promoting business creation in the ancient city centre and using conservation to attract new inhabitants by creating a life-style concept for the city capable of combining conservation, quality of life and social development.

Other cities are focused on their industrial heritage such as the City of Espinho in Portugal (video) and the Intercommunale Leiedal in Flanders (video), using conservation as a development tool by giving new uses to old industrial buildings, making them available to citizens and visitors fruition while building a strong case on their cultural and natural values. Both projects require a lot of investment due to the number, size and state of abandonment of these buildings, making PPP’s a crucial challenge. Both cities are looking for new tools and competences to deal with private investors and need to put in place simple but effective systems to measure the impacts of those investments to assure the sustainability of the envisaged actions.

This quick overview of city plans and challenges provides a clear direction for our implementation network and signposts the goals that we want to achieve at the end of the project. The project team is committed to work together on these challenges to build a knowledge base on how to improve the implementation of cultural heritage projects, addressing practical problems by learning and exchanging ideas with each other in order to maximize the potential impact of the projects in the quality of life of citizens. It will explore the multiple dimensions of urban policy (Policy, Development, Measure, Value and Engagement) to achieve a wider and more substantial impact while promoting the sustainability of it all.  They will act as driving vectors to fully exploit not only the direct output of the implemented actions but also to exploit the many spill overs that usually emerge from implementing these projects but are often neglected or ignored due to lack of monitoring and evaluation, such as potential changes in the local social landscape of the cities.

Pedro Soutinho
Porto, 22/1/2017


An innovative approach to cultural heritage management

When thinking of economic development in small-medium size cities, cultural heritage always plays an important role in any city strategy, particularly in the historical towns where the valorisation of cultural heritage remains one of the best tools to promote social and economic development. However several factors such as lack of funding, lack of management expertise, are preventing these cities to fully exploit its potential, limiting the capacity to valorise these important assets.

The INT-HERIT implementation network will build a framework for innovative heritage management where partner cities will exchange knowledge and build a participatory process around their strategies/plans. They will also monitor and benchmark their implementation through the creation of adequate monitoring metrics.  The network will provide advances in the promotion of a more sustainable policy regarding cultural heritage, amplifying its social and economic impacts in the city and their region. The main goal is to improve implementation of these strategies/plans by taking cultural heritage projects out of a closed box. From connections with the outside world that are foreseen but not fully exploited to a new approach where projects are built using a multi-connected box. In this case several relations with the outside world are analysed, fully exploited and measured, namely on such factors as social transformation, tourism, entrepreneurship, creative industries, etc.

An integrated approach is mandatory

The INT-HERIT network is composed by 7 small to medium-size cities – Baena as leader (ES), Alba Julia (RO), Sigulda (LE), Mantova (IT), Espinho (PT), Intercommunale Leiedal (BE) and Dodoni (GR) – all wanting to improve their strategies towards cultural heritage management. Cultural heritage processes involve so many stakeholders that many times it becomes impossible to address all of them. Several governmental agencies and other related organizations play crucial roles in these processes, turning horizontal and vertical integration a key challenge of the network. Cultural heritage management is often under a very strict legal framework requiring a strong interaction between local authorities and regional/national authorities to move projects forward. Finally, territorial integration is also mandatory, particularly when addressing tourism development as it usually falls under a regional or trans-regional strategy.

The important role of Public Private Partnerships (PPP)

Financial Innovation is a crucial tool in the scope of cultural heritage management. It is widely used today in all EU countries, however new and innovative ways of making PPP arrangements namely through active participation of citizens, will provide new solutions for the sustainability of cultural heritage. PPP will play a key role in our strategy for cultural heritage management. They impact greatly on the capacity of raising financial support and to maximize the social economic impact in the city, namely in the promotion of new business around the sector and ultimately in job creation. INT-HERIT cities will promote the adoption of this type of financial innovation on their territories, learning from others’ experiences to support new long-term agreements.

The Participatory Process and Monitoring

Another key element of the project is raising the awareness among actors to new strategies for cultural heritage management. More specifically, how an integrated approach can maximize their results in two ways. The first regards the rehabilitation and maintenance of cultural assets. The second concerns the involvement of relevant stakeholders, from business to citizens, in order to produce an enduring impact in the social and economic landscape of the city. This is particularly important in small and medium- sized European cities like those forming the INT-HERIT network, in which cultural heritage projects usually have a greater impact as opposed to big cities. This will also favour monitoring metrics since it will make it easier to measure impact of the operational action-plans. Each city has its own different actions but all partners want to take advantage of the INT-HERIT Implementation Network to “inject” a participative and integrative approach to their local actions. Their final aim is to provide a clear path from strategy to the operational action-plan in cultural heritage management.

The management of heritage as a challenge

Jesús Rojano, is the Mayor of Baena, the city that leads INT-HERITcities network. He emphasizes the specificity of small and medium-sized cities in the European context. He also highlights the potential of cultural heritage as a lever for the promotion of sustainable and integrated development. The creation of the network of cities has taken into account the historical and thematic diversity of the cultural resources of each one of them, the different degrees of experience in conservation policies and the value of heritage, the presence of plans and strategies, and the connection with integrated urban development, among other aspects. Based on this complementarity, the network proposes a common project based on the fact of sharing a challenge. This is achieving a greater professionalization of resourcemanagement, monitoring of the implementation of strategies and the impelemntation of a participatory method
The INT-HERIT team in Baena is composed of Raquel Moreno and Antonio Zafra. They outline the need that the cities of the network show their value as attractive places to capture the attention of investors, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders connected with the territorial and integrated development in their respective areas. It means municipalities work in an efficient and innovative way in the management of cultural local resources. At the same time they are able to convince other local and external actors to participate in the implementation process of their local plans and strategies. A high flexibility must be exhibited, aimed to foster the public, private and social partnership in the management of local cultural resources, as well as attract new funding instruments, including the commitment with innovative alternatives through a clear policy of public procurement.

Elaborated by:
Pedro Soutinho (LE)
Antonio Zafra and Raquel Moreno (LP)


2. Urban rehabilitation area of the coastline of the city of Espinho


The “Urban rehabilitation Plan of Espinho’s Coastal Area (ARULE) focuses on the oldest and most central part of the city, chosen by the Municipality to initiate a process of urban rehabilitation, in its multiple aspects: physical, economic and social.

It integrates a set of actions of urban regeneration and improvement of the urban environment, namely: Rehabilitation of the public space (with the area of 10.5 ha), resulting from the burial of the Northern Railway Line, inserted in the Requalification Space Railroad Channel of the City of Espinho (ReCaFe), structuring in the city and that lacks of a new use. It includes the rehabilitation of buildings (public and private) with more than 30 years and / or in poor condition, as well as commercial spaces and other spaces, without restrictions on the use, including buildings, classified as architectural architectural interest.

Solutions offered by the case example

Taking advantage of the opportunity to co-finance the ReCaFE under a game plan, tourism of Portugal and the contract of the Strategic Plan for Urban Development (PEDU) under the NORTH 2020 programme, coupled with the support granted to the Urban rehabilitation, at the level of the built (private) under the financial Instrument IFRU 2020, in the form of loans and tax benefits, it was possible to initiate the urban rehabilitation process of the city, with a view to improving its urban environment .

The city and in concrete the most central part, is being the subject of a process of urban rehabilitation, at the level of public space, through the contract of Requalification of the railway channel of Espinho – ReCaFE, the responsibility of the municipality, and other works, The level of urban mobility and the requalification of the private building, promoted by residents.

It is an integrated implementation of several projects, transversal to several departments of the municipality (horizontal integration), which involves several public stakeholders (infrastructures of Portugal, tourism of Portugal; Municipality of Espinho) and private (investors, local agents and residents). For this it is necessary to define a new integrated and participatory governance model.

The integration of public investment with the private and its use of synergies, aims to create a space of excellence, structuring for the city, capable of enhancing the local economic and social development, attracting investment to the Area and therefore to establish and attract resident population.

This process of urban rehabilitation is expected to promote a greater environmental, urban and landscape quality of the central area of the city of Espinho, as a factor of territorial structuring, social welfare, competitiveness of Local and regional economies, as well as the establishment of the resident population.

Canal Space after burial and before the intervention of ReCafe

Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

The project INT-HERIT intends to discuss solutions to make more integrated the urban rehabilitation process of the city of Espinho: On the one hand the public investment, through the project of ReCaFE, already underway and on the other, private investment, through the Rehabilitation of the building, promoted by residents and economic agents and now taking the first steps.

The sustainability of the urban rehabilitation process depends on the integration of these two projects. The rehabilitation of the public space constitutes a catalyst for the rehabilitation of the building, the revitalisation of local trade and therefore the attraction of greater investment. In this measure, taking into account the structuring and fundamental character of this area so central to the city, which involves beyond the municipality, several stakeholders (public and private), it is essential to have an integration of public investment with the private, in order to Constitute an exemplary case of sustainability and integration.

Rehabilitation of the ongoing Canal Railway Space

Based on a participatory approach

It is an integrated and participated project, since its execution involves several stakeholders (public and private).

Through the ULG group it has been possible to create moments of debate and public discussion spaces in the context of the urban rehabilitation process and the different projects underway, encouraging the various stakeholders to become active agents in a process of Collective learning.

In a first phase, in the construction of the Tunnel and burial of the Railroad Line, involved the participation of “Infraestruturas de Portugal”, with the monitoring of the municipality.

In the design phase, it was the target of a competition of ideas at international level, with the participation of several teams of designers. In a more consolidated phase, already in the phase of architecture project, was presented publicly to the citizens and local agents, where they could present their suggestions.

In a second phase, when the project was carried out at the level of public space, including basic infrastructure, it involved several departments of the Municipality. As far as urban rehabilitation is concerned, private individuals, such as residents, merchants and service providers, are involved as promoters of the building rehabilitation process, regardless of their function. In the context of economic rehabilitation and the occupation and dynamization of the rehabilitated space, it involves investors and other economic agents;

Rehabilitated buildings

What difference has it made? How did the result indicator shift?

In the area of the city there is a new dynamic in the urban rehabilitation process, already extended to another area of urban rehabilitation, materialized: Area over 4000 m2 already rehabilitated, which include an area of public space and more buildings rehabilitated; there is a growing number of requests for rehabilitation of buildings under the IFRU; of request for inspection to obtain the level of conservation of the building and ongoing rehabilitation processes. There is also a growing number of requests to change the use of the building, specifically spaces for local accommodation.

Why should other EU cities use it?

As the integrated implementation of several projects, transversal to several departments of the municipality and involving several public and private Stakeholders can generate more integrated, participatory and sustainable governance models.

In this way, the equipment becomes available in the public spaces more oriented to the needs of the users and in the case of the private building, the rehabilitation makes the city more harmonious.

Key Facts and Figures:

Start and end dates of case example

September 2017- December 2020

Date of preparation of this case example

May 2019

Who prepared the case example?

Espinho’s Team


The investment of the Municipality with the rehabilitation of the public space in the ReCaFe 13 191 519,01 €

Extra information and hyperlinks


2. A participatory approach for Cultural Heritage management


A major administrative reform in Greece named «Kallikratis Programme» brought a major reform of the country’s administrative divisions. The Kallikratis Programme further reduced the number of self-governing local administrative units by compulsory merging the 1033 municipalities and communities which the Kapodistrias reform had already agglomerated to just 325 municipalities.

The Municipality of Dodoni consists of 56 small villages and the whole area is characterized by the abundance of ancient monuments which depict the depth of history and prove that the area presents an outstanding interest.

The municipality of Dodoni hosts the Ancient Theatre of Dodoni, a cultural monument of archaeological value globally. The area is surrounded by the river Acheron and both the narrows and the estuaries of Acheron and its surrounding area belong to the European network of protected nature areas 2000 (Natura 2000). There are also paths which give access to natural and cultural heritage and give added value to environmental connectivity. The “passes of the Acheron”, “the gates of Ades”, is a place of outstanding natural beauty and of great importance. Moreover, folk museums, churches and monasteries, stone bridges and traditional watermills are some of the special elements that the municipality can display.

The above mentioned cultural heritage is spread in all the area of the Municipality. Hence, the case is if a participatory approach can overcome the hurdles faced by a municipality composed of 56 small villages and tackle cultural heritage challenges since there is no local authority able to coordinate and direct all these remote villages and there is not enough funding.

Solutions offered:

Participatory management is about strengthening the relationship between cultural heritage institutions and professionals, and everyone interested or engaged in cultural heritage – civil society, the public, owners, caretakers, businesses, etc. In the case of Dodoni associations play an important role in keeping traditions.

The solution proposed is a mechanism that will be able to have a holistic management approach and direct the collaboration of the villages. More specifically the suggested model is Crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is a type of participative online activity in which an individual, an institution, a non-profit organization, or company proposes to a group of individuals of varying knowledge, heterogeneity, and number, via a flexible open call, the voluntary undertaking of a task. The crowd should participate by bringing their work, money, knowledge and/or experience, which always entails mutual benefit.

The model will be based on an online platform, under the auspices of the municipality, which will be accessible by all the citizens. The Municipality will be broadcasting problems to the public, and an open call for contributions to help solve the problem and vice versa. Members of the public will submit solutions to contribute.

Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

The strategy of the project ensures a sustainable and integrated approach from the very start of the process. While the social system of the Municipality cannot cover the need that exists, because there is a lack of funds, experts, infrastructure and personnel, establishing the crowdsourcing platform with the support of the Municipality of Dodoni will fill in these gaps.

The sustainability of the project is ensured while participatory management approach of tangible, and intangible cultural heritage is an innovative approach, introducing a real change in how cultural heritage is managed and valued. It is also more sustainable in the long term than the approach used to date. It is a creative process that involves experimenting with, exploring and testing old and new ideas and options in different contexts. It is about being open-minded. It means being prepared to go beyond the passive acceptance of ‘popular will’.

Moreover, with all the 56 villages united, the Municipality will be facilitated in order to request for funding.

Based on a participatory approach:

The whole idea is based on a participatory approach whilst each citizen, village, organization will assist in their way. They will receive the satisfaction of a given type of need, be it economic, social recognition, self-esteem, or the development of their place, while the Municipality (crowdsourcing) will obtain and use to their advantage all that the user has brought to the venture.

Participatory management demands both knowledge of cultural heritage, and knowledge of the relevance of cultural heritage in society and the relations between people and cultural heritage. Participatory management of cultural heritage expresses the will to move towards more participation in everyday, common practice.

What difference will they make? How did the result indicator shift?

The participatory management by the crowdsourcing model is a good tool to involve people in the preservation of their cultural heritage by creating a sense of appropriation of their patrimony and build a shared responsibility on its preservation. Strengthen social ties in the community is a natural spill over of the initiative. Another expected shift on the result indicator is raising the awareness on social media to these matters and support social and economic development in the community.

Why should other EU cities use it?

All EU cities could use this kind of approach as it will give them the opportunity to reinforce and develop their communities. This model uses a sustainable approach to help the citizens and the municipality by responding to the demand.

In this way the cost, both economic and of Human Resources, for the administration is greatly reduced, if not completely, while the object of the action remains of public domain with all the advantages for the place related to this aspect. The participatory approach in the process is also very important, as it raises the awareness of the citizens. The cooperation between the Municipality and the people living in all the remote villages could be hard in the beginning, but if it is successful it could bring great results to a city and its heritage in terms of innovation and sustainability.

Key Facts and Figures:

Start and end dates of case example
February 2019 – December 2020

Date of preparation of this case example

Prepared by:

The Municipality of Dodoni with the consulting of external experts

Extra information and hyperlinks


1. Start up Social Cooperative Enterprises (SCE)


The Municipality of Dodoni has the highest senior citizen rate in the country along with a huge problem of lack of services for their welfare, while the elders also confront the low accessibility to health infrastructure and benefits. Moreover, the municipality has the necessity of infrastructure for disabled people and for staff with expertise. On the other hand, there is a monumental cultural heritage that is not exploited to the maximum, whilst it constitutes a great advantage for Dodoni. Because of the above mentioned issues and because the existing social functions are unable to seize the possible potentials on their own, the Municipality of Dodoni has decided to support and promote the idea of the establishment of Social Cooperative Enterprises (SCE). The establishment and development of the social enterprises is supported by the Social Enterprise Ecosystem in Greece (SEE-GR) initiative. The ecosystem aims at providing financial and nonfinancial services such as seed capital in the form of a loan and specialized consultation services (mentoring) to the social enterprises during their first three years of operation. These initiatives will be supported by the Local Bank.

Solutions offered

The project concerning the startup of Social Cooperative Enterprises offers a variety of opportunities for the improvement and the support of the aforementioned issues. The two proposed categories of SCE are: (a) “Social Care Cooperative Societies”, which are concerned with the production and provision of social welfare services to specific population groups such as the seniors and the people with disabilities, (b) “Social Cooperative Societies of Collective and Productive Purpose”, which concern the production of services to meet the needs of collectivity by promoting the local cultural heritage, promoting employment, strengthening social cohesion and strengthening local and regional development.

As the Municipality of Dodoni has the highest senior citizen rate in the country along with a huge problem of lack of services and infrastructure, the founding of a Social Care Cooperative Society for the seniors and the people with disabilities will:

  • Provide care for the people with special needs.
  • Provide creative employment for people with disabilities in all forms and degrees of disability.
  • Provide psychological counselling and support.
  • Educational programs for people with disabilities, environmental education, and intercultural education.
  • Escort for senior people for day-to-day activities, cultural events and socialisation actions.
  • Provide nursing services and buy medicines. Create new work positions.

As the Municipality of Dodoni has a great cultural heritage with the archaeological site and the monuments, establishing a Social Cooperative Society oriented in touristic will:

  • Render touristic services
  • Promote the local culture and products in a professional and more organised manner
  • Create new work positions

Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

The strategy of the project for the startup of Social Cooperative Enterprises ensures a sustainable and integrated approach from the very start of the process. While the social system of the Municipality cannot cover the need that exists in social services, because there is a lack of funds, experts, infrastructure and personnel, establishing the SCEs with the support of the Municipality of Dodoni will fill in these gaps. The sustainability of the project is ensured while the SCEs are social and solidarity economy bodies which are non-single-person legal entities and are administered on an equal footing by their members.

All the economic activities are based on an alternative form of organisation of relations of production, distribution, consumption and reinvestment, based on the principles of democracy, equality, solidarity, cooperation and respect for man and environment. They apply a system of convergence in pay and quotas in the distribution of profits with the ultimate purpose of developing activities of collective and social benefit.

Based on a participatory approach

The Municipality has involved the local stakeholders and during the scheduled ULG meetings, that take place regularly in Dodoni, they gather for discussion and consultation in order to devise strategies for the implementation of the project. Using this participatory approach mixed with the know-how of the different stakeholders will gain notable outcomes and will foster possible future collaborations.

The focus of the meetings is in helping and supporting the processes. Each stakeholder will assist in their way, while the Municipality will provide for the locations which will be used to host the SCEs and for the promotion of the project while the local bank will provide for the funding of the project.

What difference will they make? How did the result indicator shift?

The startup of Social Cooperative Enterprises, which is promoted by the Municipality of Dodoni, will serve for the greater good of Dodoni. The SCEs will make a difference in the unemployment in the first place, as new work positions will be created.

On the one hand, the Social Care Cooperative Society for the seniors and the people with disabilities will provide care, support and help to the citizens who do not have a place to address to. On the other hand, the Social Cooperative Society which will be oriented in the touristic area, will make a great difference in the emergence and the highlighting of the wealth and the cultural heritage of the place.

Finally, there will be an awakening of the social communication for the city, translated in a significant number of news, in local and national newspapers and all the aforementioned will conclude in the support of the local development.

Why should other EU cities use it?

All EU cities could use this kind of approach as it will give them the opportunity to reinforce and develop their communities. These models of Social Enterprises use a sustainable approach to help the citizens and the municipality by responding to the demand, as well as, at the same time new work positions are created. In this way the costs, both economic and of Human Resources, for the administration is greatly reduced, if not completely, while the object of the action remains of public domain with all the advantages for the city related to this aspect.

The participatory approach in the process is also very important, as it raises the awareness of the citizens. The cooperation between public and private sector could be hard at times, but if it is successful it could bring great results to a city and its heritage in terms of innovation and sustainability.

Key Facts and Figures:

Start and end dates of case example

November 2018 – December 2020

Date of preparation of this case example


Who prepared the case example?

The Municipality of Dodoni with the consulting of external experts

Extra information and hyperlinks



FROM signing the financial contract with the Managing Authority, TO finalisation of the public acquisition procedure for the selection of the constructor.

Case example Summary

The construction of the Princely Palace, which started in the middle of the XIVth century, was made on the settlement of the former bishop palace. The process of the construction was realized in successive stages and the maximum development was reached in the XVth century, when the wings of the building were developed along 3 inner courtyards. During the Habsburg governance, several functionalities are assigned to the building: the eastern part becomes a military barrack, the western part is transformed into the Roman-Catholic residence of the bishop. From the beggining of the XVIIIth century it becomes a military building.

The rehabilitation and revitalization of the Princely Palace, the main measures taken into account refer to the rehabilitation of the E body within the building, according to the existing specific legislation concerning historical monuments. The project covers specialized intervention works upon the artistic, archaeological and architectural components of the building. Concerning the rehabilitation of the Princely Palace, the financing contract was signed, in May 2017, with the Managing Authority of the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020. From this point (May 2017) until the official start for the public procurement procedure, Alba Iulia Municipality prepared all the documents needed for the file, according with the national legislation, and sent this file at National Agency for Public Procurement (governmental Agency), who had to verify and validate the procedure. After all this official procedures the public procurement was published at the end of November 2017. The deadline for submitting offers was January 2018. There have been submitted 3 offers, but none of them were admissible from technical point of view. This measure was in concordance and possible, according with our national legislation.

Cancellation of the award procedure was followed by appeals from those who submitted offers and in the end of May 2018, the Municipality was allowed to reopen the public procurement procedure by the National Agency for Public Procurement. This time, the deadline for submitting offers was end of July 2018. There have been submitted 5 offers and at the middle of November 2018, has been declared winner a private company, SC EURAS SRL – which is one of the most representative company in the field of restauration in Romania. The contract with this company was signed at the beginning of December 2018 and the works for restauration of the Princely Palace started in the same month.

Solutions offered by the case example

The project proposes a local investment that generates a regional, national and European impact, by making use of an historic monument, included in the national historical monument list. The Palace is located in the Urban Site ”Alba Iulia Fortress” an important architectural complex.

The major objectives of the project are the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of the Ensemble of the Princely Palace in Alba Iulia – Exhibition Center Main Body ‘E’ in the surface of 3113.64 square meters, through consolidation, preservation, restoration and interior decoration, exhibition facilities for sustainable use in accordance with its historical status and with national and European valences.

The focus group of the project is:

  1. Local Market, made up of all the people in Alba Iulia who could and would be willing to visit the Alba Carolina Citadel, whether for recreational purposes (walk, promenade) or for knowledge (such as groups organized by students from the city’s educational institutions);
  2. The National Market, made up of all the people who could visit the Alba Iulia Fortress, practicing forms of tourism such as business tourism, cultural tourism, weekend tourism or just passing through the city;
  3. The International Market, which is the world ‘s leading emitters of tourists (Germany, United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland) as well as from the countries with the most tourists who have visited the city in recent years (Italy, Hungary, Austria, Germany, France, Poland, United Kingdom, etc.).

Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

Alba Iulia Municipality has an Integrated Urban Development Strategy for 2014 – 2023 which covers as well the cultural management of the city and the cultural development at short, medium and long term ( In this Strategy Alba Iulia is projected to become a city for tourists, a city for citizens and a city for investors in 2023. This is the main one to refer to during the INT-HERIT Project.

Portfolio of projects needed to achieve the vision and achievement of The Integrated Urban Development Strategy objectives are interconnected. The quality of life and the harmonious development of Alba Iulia is conditioned to a significant extent by the level of development of transport infrastructure, public utilities, education, research, health and social infrastructure. Territorial cohesion, a complex concept, with particular reference to balanced territorial development, the reduction of disparities between different areas and the exploitation of territorial potential, is one of the main concerns of the European Union. The city of Alba Iulia will also have the role of Center of polarization of the economic and social activities for the localities in the neighbouring area.

Based on a participatory approach

For the implementation of this action, it was necessary to create a partnership (in order to apply for the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020), in which:

  • Alba Iulia Municipality is the Lead Partner: main owner of the Palace; technical and administrative/executive team for the implementation of the project; co-financier of the project (2%);
  • Ministry of Defence as partner 1
  • Ministry of Culture as partner 2

Other actors involved in this Case Example:

  • Representatives of the National Museum of Unification – scientific role and opinion formers;
  • Representatives of the University of Alba Iulia – scientific role and opinion formers;
  • Representative of the Batthyaneum Library, one of the most important library in Romania – scientific role and opinion formers;
  • Architects who have completed the technical project – Technical and control role;
  • Representatives of the Alba Iulia Direction for Culture – scientific role and opinion formers;
  • Representatives of the Managing Authority for the Regional Operational Programme – Controller role for the implementation of the project.

What difference has it made? How did the result indicator shift?

The starting point of the works is very important for the building itself. The project will highlight the remains of the Principality, until the middle of the 17th century, during which Alba Iulia was the capital of Transylvania, but will also take into account the construction phases and the artistic components that must be preserved in situ of the other epochs: Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque. All the studies necessary for the project development were the result of a comprehensive partnership of the City Hall of Alba Iulia with all the factors described above (historical study and history of art, parament, archeology, geotechnics, biology and technical expertise).

The arrangement of the spaces for new functions will be in line with the historical, architectural and volumetric possibilities of the construction. Proposals will mainly target:

  • A museum of the Principality of Transylvania;
  • Setting up a cultural center and a conference center;
  • Arrangement for temporary or permanent exhibitions and workshops for plastic artists, bookstore / café / wine cellar;
  • Setting up commercial spaces on the ground floor of E Body;
  • Setting up a kitchen / baker in the former kitchen on the ground floor of the E Body and a dining room;
  • Reconstitution of the gate from the entrance to the palace in E Body;

Consolidated, restored and equipped facilities according to the proposed functions are to be introduced into a local, national and international cultural circuit on the one hand and on the other hand they will define the Principality Museum as an institution open to urban space.

Why should other EU cities use it?

The Princely Palace is an important architectural complex, located in the wider ensemble of the Alba Carolina Citadel. The history of the palace includes many stages of construction – the Roman era, medieval, Renaissance, baroque, the 19th century and the 20th century – with rebuilding, reconstruction and refunctionalisation works, all connected at the same time to the urban neighborhoods. There’s a good part here from the history of fortifications (Roman and Medieval) in Alba Iulia and the history of several institutions with major importance in the history of Transylvania.

The functions proposed by the project are cultural and are considered by the specialists, right for the building as a historical monument and will also attract as many tourists as possible. In the long term, the project will bring a plus value on all levels, from cultural, commercial, tourism, food, publicly, locally and subsequently to economic and cultural development at county, regional, local, national and international level.

Through the project there are also designed levers which aim at the constant increase of the number of visitors after the restoration of the main body of the Palace: from about 2,000 now, to 26,000 after the first year of project implementation and over 60,000 after another five years.

Key Facts and Figures:

Start and end dates of case example

The preparation of the project started in 2014. In 2016 the project was submitted for evaluation and in may 2017 was signed the financial contract with the Managing Authority of the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020. After a long process of evaluation (preparing the public procurement procedure and validation of this procedure, solving all the appeals regarded to the procedure by the National Council for Solving Complaints), in December 2018, the Local Authority, was able to start the works of restauration and rehabilitation of the Princely Palace. This process will last until July/August 2020, according to the financial contract.

Date of preparation of this case example

January – February 2019

Who prepared the case example?

Alba Iulia INT-HERIT Local Team


The budget for the Princely Palace project is:

  1. Eligible amount non – refundable FEDR/FC/ FSE/ILMT: 17.905.821,66 RON (4.023.780,14 EURO) – 85%;
  2. Eligible amount non – refundable from the national budget: 2.738.537,43 RON (615.401,66 EURO) – 13%;
  3. Eligible amount co – financing from beneficiary: 421.313,45 RON (94.677,17 EURO) – 2%.

Extra information and hyperlinks




We organised the #Thebiggest100 – “The largest image of people in a country / continent”, in which 4,807 people recreated Romania’s map, having the number “100” in the middle in 29 of September 2018.

This autumn, on September 29 and 30, the 11even Association of Cluj-Napoca, together with the City Hall of Alba Iulia and Kaufland Romania, organized an exceptional festival – Joy in Motion – involving the community from the city of the Union during the 2 days in games, contests and activities involving the movement.

Because in 2018 we celebrate 100 years of the Great Union, we thought to mark this festival with a special event. We gathered thousands of people from Alba Iulia and other communities from Romania and together we have formed #CelMaiMare100 (#TheBiggest100). This event was held on the first part of September 29 in the Joy of Movement Festival and we benefit from the presence of an evaluation team from Guinness World Records to confirm this world record.

Guinness World Record has recently published the latest record shot down in Alba Iulia, “The largest image of people in a country / continent”, in which 4,807 people recreated Romania’s map, having the number “100” in the middle, on September 29 , on the West Side of the Alba Carolina Citadel.

Solutions offered

#Thebiggest100 was not only able to break down the world record for the largest map of a country of people but also the record of volunteers who have ever been involved in an event organised in Alba Iulia, more than 300 volunteers were engaged for this action. One of the greatest impact of this action was the capability to mobilise thousands of people around cultural heritage in cultural actions: 4,807 children, youngsters and adults from 67 localities across the country arrived in Alba Iulia on Saturday to enter Guinness World Records with the largest map of a country of people at a special event. Inside the map of Romania made up of people was created the figure 100 as a sign of respect for the Great Union of 1918.

During the event, activities for children and adults were organised throughout Alba Carolina Citadel. Thus it was an opportunity for all those presents, locals and people from other parts of Romania, to discover the unique cultural heritage of the city of the Union.

Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

The event was organised by The 11even Association of Cluj-Napoca, together with the City Hall of Alba Iulia, Kaufland Romania and Student League of the University December 1, 1918 from Alba Iulia.

The 11even Association was born in Cluj-Napoca in 2012, from the desire of people with experience in the business, journalism and event organisation, to support various community causes through beautiful projects carried out in several communities in Romania. They have created the Joy in Movement project in Romania, in which they believe that communities that participate in sports and recreation develop strong social connections, are safer places, and people living in them are generally healthier and happier than communities where physical activity is not a priority. Only at the 2017 edition of their program, over 75,000 children, parents and grandparents participated in 1,500 outdoor activities in 12 cities with the support of over 1,000 volunteers.

Municipality of Alba Iulia prepared the 100 figure project together with Străjan Design Office from Alba Iulia, which covered the entire plateau area of the ditch area around Gate IV of the entrance to the Alba Carolina Citadel.

Kaufland Romania was the main sponsor of the event, together with the City Hall of Alba Iulia.

Student League of the University December 1, 1918 from Alba Iulia was represented by Andreea Cordon, student at Alba Iulia University, who took over the coordination of over 300 volunteers to form #TheBiggest100.

Based on a participatory approach

In order to achieve its main goal concerning these world record event, the Municipality established partnerships with relevant actors such as representatives of the cultural NGOs and associations, students from the University, from High Schools (local and from other cities), with the economic domain (entrepreneurs, private entities etc.), decision makers within the local and central public authorities.

What difference has it made? How did the result indicator shift?

December 1, 1918 took place the Great National Assembly in Alba Iulia, which popularly legitimised the union of Transylvania and Banat with the Kingdom of Romania. In 1922, in Alba Iulia, the official ceremony for the crowning of the Kings of Great Romania, Ferdinand I and Maria, also took place in the city, which granted the symbolic importance of the city due to its role as a historical capital.

In the year of the National Centenary, organising the #Thebiggest100 – “The largest image of people in a country / continent”, in which 4,807 people recreated Romania’s map, having the number “100” in the middle, in Alba Iulia, was a great opportunity to bring back our national identity in the heart of the people, especially in the heart of the youngsters. Also was a great opportunity to promote the Alba Carolina Citadel as the place of our unification and our national pride and identity.

The young people who took part in this event had two great opportunities:

  1. Once, they have taken part in something that can be proud – Official recognition by Guinness World Records in the year when they celebrated 100 years of the unification of their home country;
  2. They had the opportunity to take part in sports activities in the largest Citadel in Romania. This will make them come back in this place and know him better.

The promotion of the Alba Carolina Citadel through this event was positive and had a great impact in local and national news, and had even an international impact by publishing an article on Guinness World Records official web site

Why should other EU cities use it?

For Alba Iulia, organising such event/s, was a great opportunity to promote its local values such as cultural heritage, involvement in social activities, partnerships with different stakeholders and national identity. The most important thing was that through these events we managed to bring together different kind of people – from the city, from other parts of Romania and also tourists.

For the reasons listed above, we also recommend other European cities (but not only) to create this kind of activities, because they bring together people and they give them the opportunity to know each other and most of all they give them the opportunity to know you.

Key Facts and Figures:

Start and end dates of case example

Organising the event started at the beginning of 2018 and end in 30 of September 2018.

Date of preparation of this case example

November 2018

Who prepared the case example?

Maria Elena Seemann

Gabriel Izdraila


The budget for the Joy of Movement Festival in which we organised #Thebiggest100 was 200.000 Lei (43.000 euros).

Extra information and hyperlinks

Joy of Movement Festival

#CelMaiMare100 (#Thebiggest100)

Guinness World Records


Strategic Plans of the cities

Info-graphic produced for the Baseline Study

By the Lead Expert: Pedro Soutinho

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