01.08.2012 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Delivering Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Historic Towns

©UNESCO/F. Bandarin - Dubrovnik

The International Historic Towns Conference will be hosted on 4-5 October 2012 by the old city of Dubrovnik, a site inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list and an inspirational setting for delegates from across Europe and the world to come together and discuss, at first hand, the challenges and opportunities currently facing historic cities. The event is organized by the City of Dubrovnik and Heritage Europe in partnership with the Croatian Association of Historic Towns, the Turkish Union of Historic Towns, The Council of Europe and the UNESCO Venice Office - Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (Italy).

This conference will provide a unique opportunity for key decision makers working in the field of cultural heritage, as well as academics and practitioners committed to the preservation of historic cities, particularly those cities inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list, to share views and experiences and help influence and shape future European Policy.

The theme of the conference focuses on the new EU 2020 strategy for 2014-2020, the policy that will determine the way the main European funds are allocated - a key potential resource for European Historic Towns. The 3 priorities of the strategy are: Smart growth (developing an economy based on knowledge and innovation); Sustainable growth (promoting a more resource efficient, greener and more competitive economy); and, Inclusive growth (fostering a high-employment economy delivering social and territorial cohesion). But can the Historic Town respond to the key global challenges of the 21st Century and help deliver sustainable growth?

This conference will explore ways in which historic towns can, and do, contribute to these European priorities and will present the “historic city” as a model for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth focusing on the knowledge economy, social cohesion and the challenges of climate change. It will showcase practical examples of successful growth and regeneration strategies in large, medium and small historic settlements; draw on the experience of a number of European projects and partners; and, present the work of the European Heritage Alliance in developing a European Cultural Heritage Strategy that demonstrates the economic and social importance of the historic city.

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