In the framework of the Italian PNRR funding, the PhD Program in Urban Planning, Design, and Policy at Politecnico di Milano issues one position on the “New methods of analysis and representation of transnational projects in heritage-rich areas” topic.
Cultural built heritage has become a key asset to enhance the image, tourist attractiveness, and retail appeal of an area or an entire city. Key projects target heritage buildings and complexes and adapt their forms and functioning to generate and extract economic value from places, their uses, and cultural meanings. While promising the physical conservation or restoration of built heritage, broader urban transformation processes sometimes become problematic for local communities. A certain level of disconnect may derive from the high-level technical expertise (e.g. UNESCO and transnational architectural firms) and public interventions. Recent research demonstrated that in the last thirty years more than 400 projects by transnational firms were completed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites and their buffer zones. Italy, the country with the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world (53 Cultural sites and 5 Natural sites) now has substantial investments at stake, from the national recovery plan (PNRR) to dedicated lines in local and regional governments’ schemes.
While recent years have brought some general assessment regarding star architecture projects and started problematizing their relation to historic city centers, specific in-depth analysis and representations regarding transnational projects and agency is still missing in the international debate. In particular, the complexity of multi-scalar projects that are generated by transnational networks of actors and international organization often emerge in terms of limited contextualization of interventions, disruption of heritage places, and long-term negative effects for local communities.
Based on existing data bases and experimentation carried out the Politecnico di Milano TAU-Lab, this project aims at developing and testing new methodologies (e.g., GIS, dynamic visualization techniques, multi-media and AR/VR, digital models) for analyzing and representing potential opportunities and risks associated with the key heritage projects and the related urban transformations.
For more information and to apply, please see this call document.