Cultural heritage as a driver of economic growth and social inclusion


Whilst cultural heritage has been defined as something inherited from the past, it is in many ways a contemporary and “living” cultural resource in Europe. Both the preservation and valorisation of cultural heritage open up considerable opportunities for local and regional development. Hosting heritage sites and effectively managing them has proved to be a strategic asset which contributes to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Cultural heritage can also play a strategic role in helping cities and regions improve their attractiveness, and it contributes to strengthen a common European identity while promoting cultural diversity and sense of belonging.

The societal value of cultural heritage

Cultural heritage features an important intrinsic and societal value. In its tangible and intangible manifestations, heritage is crucial for local identity as promoting shared understanding and sense of community with positive impacts on social cohesion. Cultural heritage can play a relevant role in promoting citizens’ participation and heritage-based participatory processes in cities and regions, thus promoting new models of multi-stakeholder governance. Cultural heritage is also particularly relevant when it comes to promote intergenerational dialogue and lifelong learning.

Cultural heritage as a driver of economic growth and vitality

Even though cultural heritage is certainly a European shared resource, it is at the local level that it features the most important development potential. The most recent research and contemporary projects show that the revitalisation of historic areas and the safeguarding of cultural heritage can provide important economic benefits to local production systems, giving new impulse to economic activities and generating locally-rooted jobs. Cultural heritage creates considerable externalities at local level in terms of image and attractiveness. Furthermore, as cultural heritage helps to distinguish from other towns in the global competition, it is a key asset to brand cities and regions and raise their international outlook with the aim of attracting not only visitors, but also talents, businesses and investments.

Cultural heritage as a tool for urban and territorial regeneration

The promotion and valorisation of cultural heritage can be instrumental for the regeneration of areas facing challenges such as de-industrialisation, lack of attractiveness and the shift to the new economy. The rich and varied European heritage features great potential to promote lesser known destinations as well as to develop sustainable cultural tourism.

Case studies catalogue - 2.0 complete version  Download
Case study - Aarhus: City of museums  Download
Case study - Centre Val de Loire - PACT  Download
Case study - Cesis: Cultural strategy 2008-2015  Download
Case study - Dublin - Temple Bar  Download
Case study - Friuli Venezia Giulia - Fondazione Aquileia  Download
Case study - Ghent - Acupuncture strategy  Download
Case study - Ii - KulttuuriKauppila Art Centre  Download
Case study - Limousin - International hub for tapestry and woven art  Download
Case study - Lisbon: Urban Art Gallery  Download
Case study - Liverpool: Culture Liverpool Action Plan  Download
Case study - Lodzkie region: Museum of Art  Download
Case study - Luxembourg - Cross border projects to stimulate cultural exchanges  Download
Case study - Merida - Consorcio de la Ciudad Monumental  Download
Case study - Nord-Pas de Calais: Euralens  Download
Case study - Porto: Bank of Materials  Download
Case study - Regensburg: World Heritage Management Plan of the Old Town  Download
Case study - Ruhr - Zollverein Park  Download
Case study - Warsaw: Warsaw in Flowers  Download