PICTURE is as an multidisciplinary research initiative between researchers, cities, and tourism and heritage organizations in Europe seeking to elaborate innovative policy and action-driven management solutions to urban decision-makers to promote cultural tourism as a means of preserving local heritage, boosting the local economies, and increasing the quality of life in their communities. The project is part of the European Union's newly launched '6th Framework Program', Activity area 'Policy support and anticipating scientific and technological needs'.
The main aim of PICTURE is to develop a strategic urban governance framework for the sustainable management of cultural tourism within small and medium-sized European cities. This framework will help establish, evaluate and benchmark integrated tourism policies at the local level with a view to maximising the benefits of tourism for the conservation and enhancement of the built heritage diversity and urban quality of life.
This will be accomplished by pursuing the following objectives:
- Evaluate the dynamics of the effects of tourism, at large, on the social, environmental and economic wealth of European small and medium-sized cities, considering the built heritage diversity and urban quality of life characterising these environments;
- Identify and benchmark innovative urban governance strategies for sustainable development of cultural tourism within small and medium-sized cities;
- Provide local authorities and decision makers with tools to facilitate the assessment of the impacts of tourism on their localities, with particular regard to the built heritage and the quality of life, aiming at a continuous improvement of the pertinent strategies, plans, and policies;
- Capitalise and disseminate existing knowledge and good practices of sustainable cultural tourism in Europe, focussing on the effects of the sector upon the conservation and enhancement of the built heritage diversity and the urban quality of life.
This project is coordinated by the Université de Liège - Centre for Architectural and Urban Design Studies, Belgium and involves 14 European partners from diverse sectors, among which leading are The Institute for Technology Assessment and System Analysis of the Karlsruhe Research Centre in Germany (ITAS); The Queen's University of Belfast, Ireland; The Czech Academy of Sciences - Advanced Research Centre for Cultural Heritage Interdisciplinary Research; Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Italy; The European Institute of Cultural Routes, Luxembourg; City of Syracuse, Italy; Conseil d'Architecture, d'Urbanisme et de l'Environnement de l'Oise, France; and English Heritage, United Kingdom.
ITAS is the second lead partner in PICTURE and will be steering the efforts to define innovative urban governance styles for integrated cultural tourism, the elaboration of methods supporting effective communication and integration of the project knowledge, and establishment of an IT resource centre for the exchange of innovative cultural tourism practices among small and medium European cities. The project is to be completed in 3 years and is expected to contribute to the European Union' policies in urban tourism, sustainability, heritage, government innovation, local governance and European spatial and integrated community development.
More information on this initiative is available at the project web site at http://www.picture-project.com/