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The EU-funded project „HerO - Heritage as Opportunity”

Regensburg coordinates a Europe-wide city network on the sustainable development of historic urban landscapes

As a joint initiative of the Planning and Building Division and the Division for Economic and Financial Affairs, the EU-funded project HerO was launched in spring 2008. Since then, the City of Regensburg acts as Lead Partner of the city network, with the World Heritage Coordination Office being responsible for the project management. The cooperation is funded with approximately 650,000 Euros by the European programme for urban sustainable development URBACT and aims to develop innovative management strategies for historic urban landscapes. The key objective is facilitating the right balance between the preservation of built cultural heritage and the sustainable, future-proof socio-economic development of historic towns in order to strengthen their attractiveness and competitiveness. Emphasis is placed on managing conflicting usage interests and on capitalising the potential of cultural heritage assets for economic, social and cultural activities (“Heritage as Opportunity”).

The European Commission has awarded HerO the “Fast Track Label”, a specific instrument of the “Regions for Economic Change” initiative which aims to get the cities and the managing authorities of the European Cohesion Policy’s Operational Programmes working together to enhance the impact exchange activities have on local level.

Regensburg’s partner cities

Regensburg’s partners in the HerO network are Graz (Austria), Naples (Italy), Vilnius (Lithuania), Sighişoara (Romania), Liverpool (Great Britain), Lublin (Poland), Poitiers (France) and Valletta (Malta). To build on the experiences of other historic towns and to widely disseminate the project results, the HerO network cooperates closely with „Heritage Europe“, an organization formed by the Council of Europe in 1999 that represents almost one thousand historic towns in Europe.

Project results

After three years of inspiring project work, HerO is coming to a close in summer 2011. On 13th and 14th April 2011 the network results have been presented at the HerO Final Conference to a wider international audience. The key outputs of the cooperation are recommendations for the sustainable development of old town areas as well as a practical guidebook on the elaboration of management plans for historic cities. Experts and political representatives from the nine HerO partner cities as well as representatives from different ministries, of the URBACT programme and the European Commission met in Regensburg’s historic Salt Barn to take stock of the HerO project work.

Within the frame of the HerO network all partner cities developed integrated management plans for their old town areas. In Regensburg, an interdisciplinary working group revised the management plan for the UNESCO World Heritage site “Old Town of Regensburg with Stadtamhof”.