Exploring how to repurpose marginalized heritage sites participatively: OpenHeritage

Published on 12/06/2018 - Digital Heritage

Co-LearningSelf-managementSharing resourcesP2P economySocial InnovationAnalogies of digitalCollective learning

Contributors: Platoniq

Open Heritage Participatory Process Canvas
Imagine a former industrial site now abandoned, that local residents want to convert into a community school!

Imagine a park that is used on a daily basis by local young people, local organic farmers and by a collective of elderly people. Imagine that these residents could participate in taking decisions about the future of the area!

Imagine a neighborhood once derelict and now upcoming, at risk of aggressive gentrification but with the presence of a strong grassroots community and local commerce interested in being involved in changing the future of their area for the best!

Platoniq is proudly part of OpenHeritage, a project that wants to explore how such participatory processes can be applied to heritage. It identifies and tests the best practices of adaptive heritage re-use in Europe. Drawing on these observations and results, the project will develop inclusive governance and management models for marginalized heritage sites and will create tools to ensure that these resources can be transferred and passed on to others.

OpenHeritage stands for Organizing, Promoting and Enabling Heritage Re-use through Inclusion, Technology, Access, Governance and Empowerment.

The six Cooperative Heritage Labs

Open Heritage is focused on finding participative “ways to include the local community on equal footing in the practice of adaptive reuse, as well create transferable governance and financial models for the same purpose”. Six sites throughout Europe have been chosen as pilots of this transformation, representing different collaborative models and types of heritage:

Praga is a former working class neighborhood in Warsaw where to map, connect and empower all existing local actors protecting heritage and redevelopment beyond commercial branding initiatives

Hof Prädikow is a manor house in Germany where to foster new sustainable coexistence between rural and urban areas

Marquês de Abrantes is a semi-abandoned peri-urban heritage site in Lisbon, where to promote urban renewal and to create a social and creative community center

The main street of the industrial city of Sunderland (UK) is in need of redevelopment with the aim of capacity building among local stakeholders fighting deprivation through innovative funding

Centocelle Archaeological Park in Rome where to develop a Community Cooperative and create community based revitalization and participation of local residents

Pomáz-Nagykovácsi-puszta is an environmental and cultural heritage site, manorial complex of a medieval monastery near Budapest where the aim is to explore new ways of collaboration between various stakeholders and to find a sustainable management model.

Platoniq and OpenHeritage

Platoniq is responsible for developing tools and methodologies for participatory processes and, later down the line, connecting these with alternative funding models including civic crowdfunding. We share with other partners the responsibility of "putting the idea of inclusive governance of cultural heritage sites together with development of heritage communities at its center".

Our role within the project is also to design, develop and coordinate the Heritage Labs Participatory online platform to create/strengthen communities around the Cooperative Heritage Labs, inviting interested parties to observe and participate.

Platoniq is further involved in:

An online Database of current practices and policies – listing national regulations, connecting them with diverse local initiatives, documenting the work in the local initiatives with pictures, videos and a short analysis
Training programs - for local administrations and practitioners
Participating and organising National networking events and dialogues – to facilitate the exchange of views between practitioners, policy makers and public administration officials.

The Second Project meeting’s venue, the Fábrica de Creación is located in an old industrial complex built in the 1910s, and converted in 2008 for cultural and artistic uses.

The Second Project meeting in Barcelona

After the kick off in Budapest, the whole Open Heritage Consortium has met for the second time in Barcelona on the 28th and 29th November 2018 at the Fabra i Coats space, itself an example of successful re-use of historical post-industrial heritage.

The partners have made progress on a number of key aspects like improving the overall coordination of the different parts of the collaborative project and further exploring the practical implications of Open Heritage in the six participatory heritage sites. The brand new website for the project has been launched! You can find it at: https://openheritage.eu/

In the context of this project meeting, Platoniq hosted a session together with the Metropolitan Research Institute (MRI) team, finalised at learning what challenges and activities are going on in the Labs, how these proceed with their community involvement plans, providing a forum for knowledge exchange and translating needs into participatory actions.

The session we hosted was set around two steps: providing the 6 Labs with a chance to identify the main strengths and challenges they are experiencing and what their main communities are;

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Open Heritage Participatory Process Canvas

“Design your participatory process”.
This dynamic supported participants in defining the different phases of their participatory process, placing them along an orientative timeline.

The set cards provided along with the canvas prompted a series of suggested steps and resources (the “participatory spaces”) which could be deployed through a participatory process. For example, these included “Processes”, “Assemblies”, “Consultations” or “Initiatives”. The methodology allowed participants to go into further details of the process, specifying what feature components could be useful (and activated through a digital participation platform to support the process digitally). These included: “Proposals”, “Voting”, “Meeting”, “Participatory budgets”, “Debates” and “Surveys”.