#OHglossary Identifying and clarifying keywords in OpenHeritage
social / economic benefit
The social-economic benefit refers mainly to the improvement of economic and social conditions, as an increase in education and employment levels. Hence, the term “socio-economic benefits” applies to the advantages offered, thanks to the development of a product or a service, to a target audience, which could indicate the society as a whole or a specific community (Xun 2013). Therefore, to define and measure the benefits different elements need to be taken into consideration: the beneficiaries, the scale of the impact, the scope of the activities and the timing of analysis. As an example, ceteris paribus, the benefits could take into consideration the impacts that the actions have on the target with a short or long-term timeframe, significantly changing the definition of the benefit (Masocha 2016). Hence, also the measurement of the benefits is a complicated analysis which needs to take in consideration different elements at the same time.
Relevance: where and how is the term relevant in the OpenHeritage? (approx. 150 words)
The analysis of the socio-economic benefits of heritage re-use supports the understanding of the impact that adaptive re-use has on the regions and the population (Rudokas 2019). Hence, defining the socio-economic benefits also allows determining the impact that a heritage project has on the wider community. Hence, in OpenHeritage, the benefits should refer to different population groups (district inhabitants, cultural experts, fragile population, etc.), considering only the benefits obtained by the local communities could limit the impact that the project had on a wider community. Besides, the correct definition and measurement of the benefits would allow to understand the most effective models and foster the replication of them.
The term socio-economic benefit refers to all the positive consequences of a specific action. Therefore, the assessment of the socio-economic benefits of the adaptive re-use is crucial for the understanding of the impacts generated by the project. However, the comprehension of the benefits requires a wide multidisciplinary analysis of the services/products. Thus, activities concerning common goods and resources create a variety of spillover effects that are difficult to delimitate. Hence, when analyzing the socio-economic benefit of heritage re-use it shall be taken into consideration elements from different disciplines, sociology, psychology, economics, etc. Some of the aspects that might be taken into consideration among others are:
· Influences on the well-being of individuals and communities, taking into consideration also the effect on the community cohesion.
· Influences on the attractiveness of the place to newcomers, taking in consideration also the possible gentrification process
· Influences on the education level of the community and the possibility of people to access the education systems
· Influences on the environment and the ecosystem, taking in consideration also the effect on energy efficiency and the creation of renewable sources
· Influences on the economic conditions of the place, including the creation of jobs and the capacity building
· Influences on the cultural life of the place and the ability to offer cultural and artistic services and on the heritage values
· Influences on tourism and the ability of the place to attract people, resources, and ideas
· Influences on the attractiveness of the place to business, taking in consideration also the effect on the real estate value
The multidisciplinary approach of the benefits arises issues also related to its measurement, as most of the socio-economic benefits are difficult to estimate. Hence the main discussion relates to the possibility to quantify some of these benefits and give them an economic value (Dalinger 2019). Hence, the discussion can be divided into two different main streams. The first aspect questions how some intangible aspect of the benefit could be measure (Brazier 2016). As an example, it is difficult to measure the benefit generated by clean air or of the mitigation of climate change. The second aspect refers to the possibility to give economic value to no-economic benefits (Arvidson 2013). These additional steps are essential to understand the overall positive or negative impact of a project. However, also, in this case, the definition of social and economic benefits in the economic terms could be complicated. As an example, it is difficult to provide an economic value to saving the life of a person. Hence, the recent debate around the term focuses on defining the boundaries of impact and how they could be measured.
- Dallinger, Bettina, et al. 2019. "Socio-economic benefit and profitability analyses of Austrian hydro storage power plants supporting increasing renewable electricity generation in Central Europe." Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 107: 482-496.
- Ballini, Fabio, and Riccardo Bozzo. 2015. "Air pollution from ships in ports: The socio economic benefit of cold-ironing technology." Research in Transportation Business & Management 17: 92-98.
- Rudokas, Kastytis, et al. 2019. "Valuing the socio-economic benefits of built heritage: Local context and mathematical modeling." Journal of Cultural Heritage 39: 229-237.
- Arvidson, Malin, et al. 2013. "Valuing the social? The nature and controversies of measuring social return on investment (SROI)." Voluntary sector review 4.1: 3-18.
- Brazier, John, et al. 2016. Measuring and valuing health benefits for economic evaluation. OXFORD university press.
- Xun, Zhao, and Zhao Ting. 2003. "The socio-economic benefits of establishing National Geoparks in China." Episodes 26.4: 302-309.
- Masocha, Mhosisi. 2006. "Informal waste harvesting in Victoria Falls town, Zimbabwe: Socio-economic benefits." Habitat International 30.4: 838-848.
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Social-economic benefits are a key part of any social justice movement. They are the benefits fall guys that society provides to its citizens in order to ensure that everyone has a positive and equal experience.
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