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HISTorical assets and related landsCAPE (HISTCAPE)
Start date: Dec 31, 2011, End date: Dec 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Historic towns and their landscapes are a unique part of Europe’s identity. While Europe’s 500 million population is concentrated in larger settlements 80% of its territory is rural in character. These landscapes, developed over centuries, are home to a dispersed pattern of smaller historic towns. HISTCAPE focuses on these historical assets – some 4,500 small towns of under 20k population which have traditionally acted as community hubs - a focal point for economic activity and social cohesion. This role has come under serious threat over recent decades with outmigration, particularly of young people as a direct consequence of changing patterns of economic activity - adversely affecting demographic balance and sustainability. The ensuing loss of facilities and services combined with a loss of economic activity has resulted in a lack of investment in these communities and directly threatens the existence of much of Europe’s historic assets. This spiral of decline is at the heartof the problem that HISTCAPE has identified. The current lack of regional and local policies relating to small historic towns needs to be addressed and tools developed to help to understand the value of heritage and facilitate its protection. HISTCAPE focuses on providing a platform and mechanisms for collection, exchange and transfer of experiences and views among the partner regions in order to find and test better solutions and tools for preservation of cultural heritage assets and related landscape situated in rural and scarcely populated territories accross Europe. HISTCAPE is particularly relevant to INTERREG IVC directly responding to the environmental risks associated with the survival of Europe’s dispersed historic assets. The sub theme of cultural heritage is at the core of the problems the project is aiming to address. Through regional cooperation it will fill a strategic policy gap improving the effectiveness of regional policies relating to cultural heritage in Europe’ssmaller settlements whose viability is now seriously under threat. A set of instruments are planned to enable exchange of experiences among regions such as Interregional Workshops, Study Visits and a Practitioners Forum on the website. It will identify good practice in sustainable management and ensure they transfer into regional Implementation Plans that are capable of accessing the structural funds – providing a catalyst for further public and private sector investment alongside the empowerment of local communities. Europe wide impact is expected through the events, website and the Practitioners Forum. The HISTCAPE partnership is composed by 12 partners with several years of experience in both managing Cultural Heritage and Rural Development: 3 regional development agencies, 5 regional authorities, 1 local authority, 1 European institution, 1 research centre and 1 University. The partnership comprises 12 partners from 11 different EU countries and representing 10 regions. Achievements: Historic towns and villages in their surrounding landscapes are an essential and unique part of European identity. The Italian hill town of Cingoli in Marche, the cultural park of Zerain and the agricultural village of Albarracín in Spain and the World Heritage Site of Trier in south western Germany are only some of the examples of these unique and special places. These territories and landscapes have developed over many centuries and have now come under serious threat. Changes in economic activity, demographic shifts, and the intensive use of private vehicles has led to the loss of population, facilities, services and investment in these communities creating a downward spiral. The HISTCAPE project addresses these issues and focuses on providing a platform for the collection, exchange and transfer of experiences among partner regions in order to find and test better solutions and tools for preservation of cultural heritage assets and related landscape situated in rural territories. Through regional cooperation HISTCAPE fills a strategic policy gap improving the effectiveness of regional policies relating to cultural heritage in Europe’s smaller settlements and ensures a sustainable management of cultural heritage by responsible bodies. The partnership is composed of 12 partners with decades of experience in both managing cultural heritage and rural development. The project builds upon the diversity and specificities of partners’ experiences. Diverse technical practices and protection instruments for cultural heritage have already been identified by the partner regions as good practice. These range from techniques for the identification and cataloguing of cultural heritage to new models of financing and attracting investment. HISTCAPE not only focuses on technical practices and instruments for cultural heritage protection, also innovative and added-value activities related to cultural heritage as well as community based models for territorial development will be investigated. The idea is to create fresh perspectives and innovative solutions geared towards the creation of new tools and policies adapted to the sustainable development, management and protection of the small historical centres and their landscapes. This in turn will slow down and then reverse the cycle of decline facing these threatened places and lessen the impact linked to the social, economic and cultural deterioration. HISTCAPE provides a platform in order to guarantee a direct improvement of regional policies and to impact policies at European regional level. A set of instruments enables exchange of experiences among regions including workshops, study visits and online discussions. New knowledge and skills are generated to ensure the conduction of the regional implementation plans and policy impacts as well as a joint contribution to European strategies for cultural heritage. A great way to get involved in the HISTCAPE project is to come along to one of the project events. There are a series of open conferences being held in each of the partner regions. More than 350 stakeholders have attended open conferences and other dissemination events so far. Furthermore stakeholders are invited to participate in project activities at a regional level. A Practitioners’ Forum will be installed, where online discussions can be joined. For further details on all our events please check out our website, as information will be uploaded as soon as it is available. Alternatively you can contact us directly by telephoning or emailing the HISTCAPE project manager.

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  • 2007 - 2013 Interreg IVC
  • Project on KEEP Platform
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