Heritage for the Future
Cultural identity as a potential for urban development and transformation
Cultural heritage is becoming an increasingly acknowledged asset for spatial development although, or because, the regional culture is endangered by globalisation. The cultural heritage of Europe – from the historic town centres to the cultural landscapes of rural areas – is the expression of Europe’s identity and is of world-wide importance. It is also part of the everyday environment of many people and enriches their quality of life.
The emotional connection between human beings and their environment – their sense of place – is a fundamental need for citizens. The best-loved cities and urban places offer a rich and positive environmental experience and better living conditions. Environmental quality is a major factor in guaranteeing the economic success of a city – but it also contributes to social and cultural vitality.
Natural and cultural heritage is becoming increasingly important for spatial development. The quality of life of towns and cities, their hinterland and rural areas plays an increasingly important role in the location decisions of new companies and business. Natural and cultural places of interest are also an essential precondition for the development of tourism.
If cultural identity is seen as an important asset for the well-being of people, not much is known yet about its importance and potential for spatial development, thus adequate planning tools need to be developed.
Cultural heritage is a concept which goes beyond architectural heritage and should not be dominated solely by the past. It is the cornerstone of local, regional, national and European identity. Accordingly, spatial development and planning should approach this issue in a comprehensive and integrated manner.
Virna Bussadori graduated in Urban & Territorial Planning from the University of Venice.
At present she is the director of the office for Spatial Planning of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano in the north of Italy.
Since 1993 she has been a member of the board of the Italian Association of Planners (AssUrb) which she represents within the ECTP-CEU (the European Council of Spatial Planners). She was elected President of the ECTP-CEU for the period 2008-9. She co-edited “The New Charter of Athens 2003 – The ECTP’s Vision for Cities in the 21st Century” and “Try It This Way”, a guide to sustainable urban development. She also collaborated as advisor in various Interreg programmes and has been a consultant for the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. She’s a member of Isocarp and ECTP-CEU Honorary President.