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MILJØFORSK-Miljøforskning for en grønn samfunnsomstilling

Rural vitalization through various adaptations of cultural heritage and landscapes

Alternative title: Adaptiv gjenbruk av kulturminner som verktøy for å vitalisere norske bygdesamfunn

Awarded: NOK 8.2 mill.

At its core, RUVIVAL seeks to understand how reuse of cultural heritage processes in Norway can be conducted so that they preserve cultural heritage values, while adapting to communities? needs and challenges. The success of adaptive cultural heritage reuses builds on broad participatory and good collaboration processes, as conflicts and tensions between interests and sustainability dimensions often arise. The importance of disclosing the (sometimes hidden) economic value of cultural heritage is also important to make good decisions. On this background, the project aspires to answer the key question: How to choose what to preserve and what to transform? RUVIVAL is thus grounded on four main building blocks that aim to identify participatory approaches to effectively engage civil society in heritage reuse processes (WP1); assess both monetized and non-monetized impacts of the heritage reuse cases (WP2); provide recommendations on collaboration processes and suggest collaboration models (WP3); and develop, test and evaluate tools to evaluate the contribution of adaptive reuse of cultural heritage to sustainable development (WP4). The project plans to perform fieldwork, surveys, interviews and workshops in three cultural heritage cases in Norway. The cultural environments Abborhøgda, Obrestad lighthouse, Tungenes lighthouse and Hemnesberget have been chosen as cases for RUVIVAL. The cases selected have a good geographical spread and represent cultural environments where plans for use are either in the start-up phase or where one has long-term experience with use. Common to all is that there is a desire for external use where the cultural environments are made available to the public to the greatest possible extent. In addition to the geographical spread of the cases, it is also emphasized that the cultural environments must represent different parts of Norwegian history through the lighthouses and the development of common goods in Norway, Hemnesberget and Norwegian fisheries history, minority history and the forest Finns' way of life through Abborhøgda. The voluntary sector is an important part of Norwegian cultural heritage protection and is represented through the Lighthouse Historical Association and the Past Memory Association, both of which are members of the Cultural Conservation Association, which is a partner. The Norwegian Trekking Association, DNT, is also a partner and has activities near the cases through, for example, historical walking routes and more traditional DNT cabin offers. In several of the work packages in the project, it is therefore important to get an overview of the cases, their uniqueness and further plans to be able to finally determine the methodological approaches and where the data capture is probably best, and how this can be implemented in 2022. RUVIVAL's project team will produce guidelines and tools that serve to guide cultural heritage adaptive reuse processes in ways that contribute to sustainable development of rural communities and are in line with national and regional cultural heritage policy goals. The project is organized by the Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) as lead partner, and with the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) and Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) as research partners. Collaborating partners are Regional Parks in Norway, The Norwegian Federation of Cultural Heritage Organisations, The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Innlandet County Municipality, and The Norwegian Trekking Association.

Cultural heritage policies in Norway have progressively encompassed a wider range of cultural sites, environments and landscapes, while strategies have shifted towards preservation through use. Still, there is little research on the actual processes of using cultural heritage and their implications, particularly in rural Norway. There is also a need to increase the societal engagement in cultural heritage preservation. Moreover, improving visibility of non-consumptive and public good heritage functions as well as of indirect effects of using cultural heritage is required. RUVIVAL aims to thicken research gaps and cast light on how to best cope with these challenges by producing tools and knowledge that support adaptive reuse of cultural heritage that contributes to sustainable development of rural communities. This is done by adopting an analytical approach that acknowledges the dynamic and relational nature of heritage as well as of societal challenges/trends and of satisfiers to meet needs. As each of them evolves, new heritage reuse alternatives will emerge. In this way, RUVIVAL understands that cultural heritage can contribute to build a bridge between the past and a sustainable future. RUVIVAL will apply a mixed-method approach on selected cultural heritage case studies located in different socio-spatial contexts in rural Norway. RUVIVAL is structured in six work packages that focus on identifying participatory approaches to effectively engage civil society in heritage reuse processes, developing methodologies to evaluate the socio-economic impact of heritage reuse processes, providing recommendations to collaboration processes and models for adaptive reuse of cultural heritage, and developing, testing and evaluating tools to assess the contribution of heritage reuses to sustainable development. Together, RUVIVAL seeks to improve the understanding of cultural heritage reuse processes as well as to increase attractiveness and liveability of rural communities.

Funding scheme:

MILJØFORSK-Miljøforskning for en grønn samfunnsomstilling

Thematic Areas and Topics