Collaborating together each of the Lab Partners with Platoniq are writing a manifesto to capture some of the learning and themes that have resulted from working together within the OH project.
Who are we?
We are a collaboration between multiple organizations, actors, and communities across the European Union through the project OpenHeritage. We share the collective aim of creating urban reuse processes through greater inclusion, access to technology, and more just collaborative governance. Our work takes place in six different communities and neighborhoods in Prädikow, Berlin; Pómaz, Budapest; Centocelle, Rome; Sunderland, London; Praga, Warsaw; and Marquês de Abrantes, Lisbon. Though our contexts are different and unique, we have come together to collaborate and co-create to create strong practices around heritage and the communities that inhabit and surround it.
Why are we writing this?
Within Open Heritage our learning has been invaluable because of the practices co created within our neighborhoods and the diversity of our contexts. We live in polarising political times where there is serious doubt about the power of the everyday citizen and the inclusiveness and transparency of democratic processes. So at this juncture in our journey, we have made a collective effort to reflect and celebrate the important lessons and principles within our work within heritage, our neighborhoods, and our wider EU community.
How are we writing this?
Within OpenHeritage the title of our project is Organizing, Promoting and Enabling Heritage Reuse through Inclusion, Technology, Access, Governance and Empowerment and we wanted to begin from this text to give the terms greater meaning and connection to our collective project and context. As a result the idea is that each partner would write an statement about a term within the title that connects to their values as an organization within OpenHeritage or within their lab. While there are fewer terms than partners, we resolved the decision of who would write each section through the sortition feature on Decidim. The text itself is being written through the participatory text feature that records each amendment and is open to commentary from those who want to constructively contribute.
Based on an analysis of structural inequalities, inclusion requires affirmative action to improve "the ability, opportunity, and dignity of people, disadvantaged on the basis of their identity, to take part in society" (World Bank). Don't talk about the disadvantaged, talk with the disadvantaged! Inclusion promotes their leadership to develop strategies to overcome barriers to full participation. Inclusion also makes people accountable for using privileges for a more equal society.
Promoting Heritage Re-use
Joint actions, peer learning, and strong partnerships between civil society, business leaders and all levels of government contribute to heritage regeneration and local sustainable development and can make real change on the ground. Sharing knowledge with and among local actors and applying sustainable development principles with a local and regional context helps address and promote heritage-re use in the right way and implement effective local projects.
Connecting online is a prerequisite for healthy economies, heritage reuse and place making in the 21st century and was even proposed as a human right at the UN in 2011. However, a challenge is creating more equitable and accessible standards of internet connection. Technology at it's best supports infrastructures of communities and networks to create more accessible places online to connect.
Access for Manifesto
There is no heritage without accessibility, since there is no heritage without community. The community can be large or small, on-site or virtual, and access can mean a variety of ways of entering the heritage process; and all these change in time. Heritage is created via interaction between the human and tangible or intangible assets from the past, as well as between human and human through the assets, by attributing value to these assets. Everyone should have a potential access to benefiting from and contributing to their heritage, even if they choose not to access it at the moment.
Empowerment takes attention and effort
Empowerment takes close attention and lots of effort. Agency among citizens and communities, awareness of their heritage values, and support in of becoming integral actors of spatial change – is the most powerful when fueled by local dynamics, initiatives, needs and engagement. Connectivity and alignment with other actors in spatial change is crucial, but empowerment starts from within communities, and is strongest when it is and remains self-driven.