Connectivity is the capability of adaptive reuse practices to identify the use and organization of a space as an opportunity-set for a continuous exchange of knowledges and actions, linking local bottom-up projects to multi-scalar spatial relations. Thus, connectivity concerns the physical, institutional, and people-to-people linkages which implement opportunities to collaborate for a territorial integration strategy through community-led heritage adaptive reuse project. By ensuring adequate connectivity, these projects create opportunities to socially redress places by bringing together different types of actors, carrying out a sustainable development – jointly economic, ecological, socio-cultural and political - and restoring material links (e.g. transport network or more in general physical infrastructures) with other areas in the city to rebuild a heritage site in its broader spatial connections. Overall, connectivity aims at transforming governance relations generated from a specific project in a linked-territorial planning that keeps together material and social infrastructure at different governance and territorial scales.
Relevance: where and how is the term relevant in the OpenHeritage?
Connectivity is at the very heart of the inclusive management model that calls community and stakeholder integration, resources integration and regional integration to incorporate local developments into a larger territorial framework at the same time. It thus is a crucial concept of OpenHeritage which might be match in the meaning of “integration”, due to the fact that for any integration a connection is a must. Hence, OpenHeritage’s inclusive model aims at connecting place-based adaptive reuse projects with the wider regional development, by the application of heritage related concepts and actions, in the framework of larger revitalization programs as motors of social integration, economic, cultural and environmental development. Moreover, OpenHeritage’s approach related to connectivity is clearly visible as a part of the toolbox which has been developed and tested in the Cooperative Heritage Labs (CHLs). The CHLs, combined a methodology based on the actor-relational planning and on the governance of commons, aim at making their interests coincide with the broader planning items establishing a sustained connection of material and social aspects and infrastructures.
Connectivity is a term widely used in the field of urban planning to refer to the directness of links within the city related to the density of connections - in particular in a transport network - with the aim of providing adequate accessibility (both physical as social). In this regard, Madanipour (2010) further pointed out that the planning process involves setting up a series of temporal, spatial and institutional connections which have been subject to rupture and shrinkage. Hence, he identifies the need to rethink connectivity in planning through: new spatial connections that connect the plan and the project, draw on formal and informal mechanisms, plural and participatory and - finally - through new symbolic connections that, rather than marketing places or expressing ambiguous intentions, are created through a democratic process. Moreover, connectivity has drawn forth a rising interest in the field around regionalism studies and regional integration, mainly seen as a crucial factor to achieve success on cross-border European cooperation projects (Castanho et.al 2017). Particularly, Castanho et al (2017), by considering the analysis of several case studies of cross-border cooperation throughout Europe, identifies as a key factor for their implementation the "connectivity/movement between cities along with a strong political commitment". Particularly, it was highlighted the importance of public transportation connectivity, as a priority to achieve success on these projects. For Schmitt-Egner (2002) the key spatial characteristic of “region” is that a spatial entity characterized “by vertical and horizontal linkages” with other regions and other spatial scales. In this respect, Show and Sykes (2006) argue how the “interconnection” - along with "shared power"- to overcome sectoral and spatial insularity has been recognized by policy initiatives at a variety of spatial scales and this has been accompanied by a burgeoning academic literature on themes such as: ‘new’ regionalism; European spatial planning (Commission of the European Communities - CEC), cross-border issue, collaborative and partnership approaches to planning and urban policy. Furthermore, connectivity is a crucial concept within the Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020 that mainly stresses regional integration in term of territorial connectivity “for individuals, communities and enterprises” (priority 5) and “ecological, landscape and cultural values of regions” (priority 6). The concept of “connectivity” also emerged among Association of Southeast Asian Nations member referring to regional integration development. Specifically, within the “Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity”, connectivity is understood as a tool used to decrease territorial inequalities - on different scales (regional, sub-regional, and local) - mainly through provision of - material and immaterial - infrastructures (Fau 2017). In conclusion, "connectivity" is also strongly linked to the concept “integration” by considering it unfeasible to implement without adequate networks connections. From this prospective, it is possible linked it with the field of urban regeneration and social innovation, specifically within the “Integrated area development” strategies (Moulaert and Nussbaumer 2004). Starting with a specific place-based project, the concept of connection/integration (e.g. among stakeholders, governance levels, resources, territorial scale etc.), represents a crucial factor to improving territorial and community development in its wider spatial structure.
- Castanho, Rui Alexander, Vulevic, Ana, Fernandez, Josè Cabezas, Fernandez -Pozo, Luis, Gomez, Josè Manuel Naranjo, and Loures, Luis Carlos. 2017. Accessibility and connectivity – movement between cities, as a critical factor to achieve success on cross-border cooperation (CBC) projects. A European analysis: Sustain. Cities Soc., 32, pp. 181-190
- European Commission. 2011. Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020: Towards an Inclusive, Smart and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions. Online: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/information/publications/communications/2011/territorial-agenda-of-the-european-union-2020
- Fau, Nathalie. 2016. “Investment in Infrastructure and Regional Integration: Will Connectivity Reduce Inequalities?”. In: ASEAN Economic Community, A model for Asia-wide Regional Integration?, edited by Bruno Jetin and Mia Mikic, pp. 291-310 . New York: Palgrave Macmillan
- Madanipuor, Ali. 2010. Connectivity and contingency in planning: Planning Theory, 9 (4), pp. 351-368
- Moulaert, Frank, Nussbaumer, Jacques. 2005. Integrated Area Development and social innovation in European cities: European cities, City, 8:2, pp.249-257.
- Schmitt-Egner, Peter. 2002. The concept of ‘region’: theoretical and methodological notes on its reconstruction: European Integration, 24(3), pp. 179–200.
- Shaw, David, and Sykes, Oliver. 2005. Addressing Connectivity in Spatial Planning: The Case of the English Regions: Planning Theory & Practice, 6:1, pp. 11-33.
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