Geoplast Research papers

The role of cultural heritage in sustainable development: multidimensional indicators as decision-making tool

Francesca Nocca - University of Naples Federico II

The concept of sustainable development has been the main topic of many international conferences. Although many discussions are related to the role of cultural heritage in sustainable development, they develop only on theoretical level. The answer to the main question, that is if the cultural landscape can play a role in sustainable development, could be positive only if we are able to produce empirical evidence about its contribution to improve economic, social, and environmental productivity of the city. It is necessary to produce empirical evidence to demonstrate that cultural heritage conservation/valorization is an investment and not a cost. To date, there are few researches about the indicators that are able to support the relationship between cultural heritage conservation/regeneration and sustainable development. This paper intends to go beyond this limit and approach this issue in operational terms. It is focused on the role that cultural heritage can play in the sustainable development framework. An assessment framework that is able to capture the multidimensional benefits of cultural landscape conservation/valorization is proposed here starting from the analysis of 40 case studies of culture-led regeneration projects. A matrix of multidimensional indicators (divided into nine categories) about the impacts produced by these 40 cultural heritage conservation/valorization projects and its critical analysis is here proposed, mainly focusing the attention on the double relationship between the tourism sector and climate change. Although the analyses often refer to sustainability, it is not concretely addressed because there is an imbalance among the dimensions: in most cases, only the economic component is highlighted, leaving out the social and environmental dimensions. Furthermore, the impacts related to cultural-led projects are mainly interpreted in terms of tourism and real estate impacts.

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