Natural and cultural heritage should be recognized, understood, planned and managed together !

The rich natural and cultural heritage is a defining element of the place identity. It brings communities together and builds shared understandings of the places we live in. It is also a very useful territorial resource, key component of the territorial capital of regions that can enhance social cohesion, employment and economic growth and stimulate place-based policies.

Since 2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage, events are planned all over Europe to encourage people to discover and engage with Europe’s cultural and natural attractions, so as to enhance our sense of a European belonging. The European Year is an occasion to reflect on the place that cultural and natural heritage occupies both in our lives and for territorial development and to often alert about the need to protect such unique values for the future generations. It is thus evident that nature and culture as an indivisible whole is an idea whose time has come ! This means that natural and cultural heritage should be recognized, understood, planned and managed together !  This may besides create efficiency of place-based policies.

In this context, natural and cultural attractiveness of cities and territories and the achievements of culturally and nuturally creative cities, territories and nations will be fully discussed in the international Event.

Nature and culture-based solutions are often less costly, more resilient and more effective in the long term, they can create jobs and economic growth, they can promote sustainability and frugality of cities and territories.

The event is not stricltly European. It is aiming at bringing together cities and territories from all over the world that plan or implement innovative nature and culture-based solutions, thus creating a world-wide forum of exchange. Scientists, academia, policy-makers, representatives of cities and regions together with entreprises, private and social ones and citizens will meet in order to discuss key themes like :

  • Natural and tangible and intangible Cultural Heritage as Strategic Territorial Development Resources
  • Linking natural and cultural heritage
  • Natural and cultural heritage : planning, management, governance, marketing, funding
  • Marine natural and cultural heritage-Maritime sptial planning and cultural values
  • Cultural heritage, archaeological sites, monuments and lighting
  • Soundscapes, Lightscapes, Nightscapes as elements of the culture of the places
  • Shaping places with nature and culture
  • New mapping and surveying technologies for natural and cultural heritage Geographic Information Systems

Special emphasis will be given to the Mediterranean region with its rich natural and cultural diversity, both terrestrial and marine. Thus, the Conference will also host the MED Social & Creative community featured by TALIA (Territorial Appropriation of Leading-edge Innovation Actions), the Interreg-MED Programme’s horizontal project promoting the coherence and impact of modular projects addressing the topics of Cultural and Creative Industries and Social Innovation. The community aims at connecting social and creative innovators in the Mediterranean to consolidate and share new models of development.

A follow up of ECHOPOLIS 2013 & ECHOPOLIS 2017

Besides, in the context of this inter-disciplinary Event soundscapes considered as part of natural and cultural heritage will be broadly discussed, also as a follow-up of the ECHOPOLIS International 2013 & ECHOPOLIS National 2017 forums organised by SDMED in the past years. The heritage and identity character of urban soundscapes and landscapes has been recognized recently. An example is the inscription of the Jemaa El Fna Square on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage that has introduced or encouraged a new heritage register based on the consideration of oral expressions as they unfold in the urban space. More generally, sounds are part of the cities and the places, part of their sensorial landscape, of their identity. They are one of the urban markers, just like the visual landscape. The relationship between soundscapes, heritage and attractiveness (including tourism) remains to be further explored.

The Conference is addressing to scientists and practitioners from all the traditional disciplines dealing with natural and cultural heritage (territorial planners, architects, landscape architects, engineers, light and sound designers, geographers, historians, oceanographers…) but also to computer scientists/engineers, digital humanities researchers, creative industries-heritage professionals, museum specialists, human-computer interaction practitioners, and creative industries professionals.

9 Thematic Areas

1st Thematic area : Natural and tangible and intangible Cultural Heritage as Strategic Territorial Development Resources

  • Natural and cultural heritage as strategic territorial resources
  • Natural and cultural heritage as resources that can boost economic growth and jobs
  • Territorial aspects of natural and cultural heritage – role in territorial cohesion
  • Societal aspects of natural and cultural heritage – role in social cohesion
  • Natural and cultural heritage to encourage dialogue between different cultures
  • Natural and cultural heritage to encourage dialogue between generations
  • Nation and city branding
  • European Green Belt and TEN-G (Transeuropean Networks- Green)
  • Cross-border areas, natural and cultural heritage.

2nd Thematic area : Linking natural and cultural heritage

  • Culture as ecosystem service
  • Culture as main driver in influencing ecosystems and biodiversity and in shaping landscapes
  • Natural and cultural heritage as defining element of European identity.
  • Natural parks ( incl.Natura 2000 Network) and ecosystem services
  • Natural parks (incl.Natura 2000 sites) associated with cultural sites
  • Natural parks ( incl.Natura 2000) and tourism, recreation and/or spiritual reflection
  • Natural parks ( incl.Natura 2000) and historical and archaeological sites
  • Natural parks (incl. Natura 2000) and cultural sites in cities
  • Natural parks ( incl.Natura 2000) and Green Infrastructure
  • Spiritual value of world natural heritage and Natura 2000 sites
  • Inspirational values of world natural heritage and Natura 2000
  • Natural and cultural tourism
  • Natural and cultural values of landscapes
  • Natural and cultural heritage and regeneration of deprived areas
  • Conservation and management of historic gardens

3rd Thematic area : Marine natural and cultural heritage, Maritime spatial planning and Cultural values

  • Marine natural and cultural heritage, planning and management
  • Maritime Spatial Planning and marine antiquities
  • Maritime Spatial Planning and cultural values
  • Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH) and diving tourism
  • Marine Natura 2000 and Marine Protected areas
  • Marine Protected Areas in the Areas Beyond National Juridictions
  • Marine natural and cultural heritage and marine tourism
  • Marine cultural heritage and local development of insular communities
  • Marine ecosystems and underwater noise pollution
  • UNESCO Cultural heritage Vs Natural hazards at European and Global scale
  • Applicationsof the multi-use concept encompassing Underwater cultural heritage (UCH)

4th Thematic area : Climate change, natural hazards and cultural heritage

  • Earthquake disasters, storm and flood disasters
  • Threats to cultural heritage by global climate change
  • Uncontrolled urban development and environmental pollution threatening cultural heritage
  • Wars, ethnic conflicts, barbaric acts of destruction, pillage as threats to cultural heritage
  • Disaster risk management regarding natural and cultural heritage
  • Incentives for risk management and mitigation
  • Building resilience of cultural heritage to cultural disasters by cities and regions
  • Initiatives to improve the protection and conservation of Heritage sites facing natural disasters and climate change

5th Thematic area : Sounds & Soundscapes as elements of the culture of the places 

  • Sound Innovations to Improve and create natural and cultural attractiveness
  • Sound environment of monuments
  • Noise pollution and its impact on natural and cultural attractiveness and tourism
  • Soundscapes, Cultural Heritage and Tourism
  • Sound Cultural Heritage and Soundscapes
  • Acoustic ecology and protection of biodiversity and of natural and cultural heritage
  • Urban innovations involving specific population groups (eg immigrants and refugees) to promote dialogue between cultures.

6th Thematic area : Cultural heritage, archaeological sites, monuments and sensory landscapes

  • Lighting design of archaeological sites and monuments
  • Lightscapes and cultural / archaeological sites
  • Sound, soundscapes and cultural / archaeological sites
  • LED and low-cost lighting in archaeological sites
  • Lighting and highlighting of artworks, lighting and museum spaces
  •  Presentation of realized projects for the rehabilitation and promotion of archaeological sites – Emphasis on sensory landscapes (  lighting, sound design..)
  • Lighting environment of monuments
  • Light pollution and its impact on natural and cultural attractiveness and tourism

7th Thematic area : Shaping places with nature and culture

  • Cultural capital of public space
  • Public space and cultural differences
  • Designing public space with nature and culture
  • Connected public spaces
  • Digital networking of public spaces
  • Media facades/active facades
  • Lighting in public space
  • Acoustics in smart cities – urban soundscapes
  • Small urban spaces
  • Smart urban equipment
  • Urban mapping / visual maps, sound maps
  • Cultural heritage and sustainable developement – use of RES
  • Urban Green infrastructure
  • Green gentrification

8th Thematic area : Natural and cultural heritage : legal frameworks, planning, management, governance, marketing, funding

  • Harmonised legal frameworks for protection
  • Integrated management approaches, plans and planning tools
  • New information technologies
  • Synergies and collaboration opportunities in terms of planning and management
  • Modes of management of integration of nature and culture across Europe
  • Evolutionary governance and Natura 2000
  • Innovative approaches to raising public awareness of nature conservation
  • Natural and cultural heritage and the role of non-governmental organisations
  • Engagement and empowerment of local residents and stakeholders
  • Monitoring impacts of activities ( e.g tourism) on the overall sustainability
  • Natural and cultural heritage and city/region branding
  • Natural and cultural heritage and urban/territorial attractiveness
  • Educational and volunteering issues linked with natural/cultural heritage interplay
  • Participatory governance of natural and cultural heritage
  • Biodiversity and culture in terms of policies and funding opportunities
  • Methodologies to better integrate biodiversity and cultural landscapes management
  • Natural and cultural tourism

9th Thematic area : New mapping and surveying technologies for natural and cultural heritage – Geographic Information Systems

  • Digital and 3-D reconstruction /modeling
  • Computational photography
  • Virtual augmented reality and other techniques in cultural, historical and natural heritage
  • Mixed reality and gamified interaction technologies in cultural heritage and creative industries
  • Integrated historical maps and archeological data using digital technologies
  • Underwater and submarine photography – Marine diving technologies.
  • Earth observation systems, tools, data – GIS – PPGIS