Transforming historic urban areas and/or cultural landscapes into hubs of entrepreneurship and social and cultural integration

Over the past decades, abandonment and decay of urban, industrial and rural heritage has occurred in many historic urban areas and cultural landscapes due to reduction of economic activities and closing down of industries. This has led to unemployment, disengagement and economic stagnation. Other areas, in contrast, have implemented regeneration processes, yet these have not always been successful as they were based on top-down decision making and implementation without engaging the local population. This has led to breaking up of traditional social structures, gentrification and over-reliance on volatile sectors, such as tourism.

Thanks to their symbolic and cultural value, and to their specific urban fabric, historic areas have the potential to be transformed into hubs of entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation, new lifestyles, and social and cultural integration reaping the opportunities offered by, for instance, emerging creative sectors, digital technologies, the sharing and 'maker' economy, and social innovation. Evidence-based intelligent leveraging of the value of historic and cultural assets can transform challenges into economic, social and cultural opportunities, while fully respecting the identity of the historic urban areas and cultural landscapes.


Actions should develop, demonstrate and document strategies, approaches and solutions to re-activate and re-generate historic urban areas and/or cultural landscapes. They should foster innovation by relevant start-ups, cultural and creative industries, including from the digital technologies sector, small scale advanced manufacturing producers and local 'makers', craft workshops, etc. for adaptive re-use and leverage of heritage assets and social integration. Solutions should be co-created, co-managed and co-implemented at the appropriate scale (e.g. for districts, buildings, public spaces etc.) within the broader context of urban and regional development, and involving local populations, research centres, appropriate authorities, innovators, universities, city-makers movements and, where relevant, new population groups. Systemic approaches and methodologies to identify the latent capacities of historic urban areas and to activate them may be developed. They should assess cultural and heritage values, respect the identity of the places and promote social innovation, also accounting for the gender dimension, economic sustainability, inclusiveness, social cohesion and integration in the long term. Innovation in its various forms (e.g. regulatory, governance, business, finance) should be considered. Synergies with other ongoing relevant projects, such as the European Creative Hubs Network, should be sought where appropriate.

Proposals should pay attention to the special call conditions for this topic.

Actions should envisage resources for clustering with other ongoing and future projects relevant to cultural heritage funded under previous, current and future Horizon 2020 calls within Societal Challenge 5 as well as with relevant projects to be funded under topics CE-SC5-03-2018 and SC5-14-2019.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 7 million and EUR 8 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

The project results are expected to contribute to:

  • reversing trends of abandonment and neglect of historic heritage in urban areas and landscapes;
  • new and tested blueprints for the socially and economically viable regeneration of European historic urban areas and cultural landscapes, with enhanced well-being and quality of life, social cohesion and integration;
  • boosting heritage and culture-relevant innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and light 'reindustrialisation' of historic urban areas and cultural landscapes;
  • cross-sector collaboration, creation of job opportunities and skills in cultural and creative sectors and innovative manufacturing linked to historic heritage.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Gender
  • RRI
  • Open Innovation
  • Socio-economic science and humanities
Date de candidature
Sciences sociales : Gestion et administration publique, Sciences de l'information et de la communication, Economie, Sciences environnementales, Géographie, Droit, Science politique, Sociologie
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie
Autres : Physique, mathématiques et ingénierie