D2.2 Case Studies Report - testing phase of the SoPHIA draft model

From October 2020 until March 2021, the draft impact assessment model (SoPHIA model) that has been developed in the first period of the SoPHIA project, was tested through its application on 12 case studies. The findings of the case studies were summarized in deliverable D2.2 Case Studies Report.

An important criterion in selecting the cases of interventions was good access to the case. This was necessary because a central characteristic of the SoPHIA model is to ensure a “people’s perspective”. This methodologically implied good access to all necessary informational resources, and that stakeholders of the case were the main partners of investigation. Finally, a broad range of cases was selected. These included the BLUEMED project, the Integrated Built Heritage Revitalization Plan of the Historic Town Centre of Buzet in Croatia, Filopappou Hill in Athens, Galway as a European Capital of Culture 2020, the Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales Museum in Croatia, the Jamtli National Museum in Sweden, the restoration process of the Jewish Cemetery Währing in Vienna, as well as the regeneration and urban development processes relating to the MuseumsQuartier Wien, Officine Culturali in Catania, Temple Bar in Dublin, Polo del Novocento in Milan and the island of Santorini in Greece. 

The primary objective of most of these selected cases related to the development of the cultural offer, urban development, tourism development and infrastructure. Here, different objectives and understandings of the notion of (urban) development were portrayed. The cases reveal the complexities of striking a balance between various forms of impact that an intervention might have, such as improving the lives of residents while also becoming an attractive location both for tourists and for entrepreneurs; or acknowledging the different and potentially conflicting narratives of a place in view of possible contribution to a sense of community and social cohesion in a town.

The document consists of a detailed discussion of the draft SoPHIA model using the findings from the case studies. These findings, again, highlight that the impact assessment depends on the motivations and objectives behind it. A multi-stakeholder perspective has proven to be crucial in analyzing the objectives, roles and responsibilities of the involved and can also be very helpful in cultural heritage management. However, the multi-stakeholder perspective can only be employed if sufficient resources are available, including access to all relevant stakeholders. Therefore, a primary advantage of continuous monitoring and assessment both during and after an intervention is the possibility to also ensure participation throughout the whole process.

Testing the SoPHIA model along the lines of these cases was a crucial exercise for identifying necessary adaptations to the model. All case studies are included in the annex of D2.2, portraying rich insights into the impact of various interventions in Europe throughout the last 20 years. 

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