Focusing on people: community engagement in cultural heritage as a resource for recovery

University of Macerata

Cultural heritage could be a resource for restarting after the current pandemic crisis. As stated by international organizations (Council of Europe 2005; UNESCO 2015), cultural heritage, in particular “World Heritage properties and their wider settings, can make a significant contribution to recovery and socio-economic reconstruction”. Furthermore, cultural heritage can help create social cohesion empowering local communities and let them overcoming the pain (ICOMOS 2017). This contribution examines some of the best practices implemented to engage civil society in the enhancement of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a strategic tool for recovery after the current pandemic crisis, past conflicts and disasters. Shifting the focus to people and including them in activities concerning cultural heritage could be the solution to cope with the consequences of crises, and it could represent a resource for strengthening civil society resilience.