Via Francigena

Cultural routes and walking trip development. International Call

Redazione AEVF
Redazione AEVF

European and Mediterranean geographies of cultural routes. (Trans)disciplinary revolutions, methodologies and urban & regional policies. International call for the XXXII Italian Congress of Geography in Rome (7-10 June, 2017).

European and Mediterranean geographies of cultural routes. (Trans)disciplinary revolutions, methodologies and urban & regional policies – Cultural heritage can play a major role in fostering new forms of wellbeing and participation connected with spaces and places. Manufacture- and service-related employment, as well as inter- and multi-cultural dialogue can be stimulated by cultural heritage in a sustainability approach. The development of cultural routes ¬– that are always connected with slow mobility and diffused hospitality ¬– have recently raised the attention of private and public, local and international stakeholders. A complex relation between place, identity and local develop emerges from the production of cultural heritage as it is connected with slow travels and religious paths.

The aim of this session is to move away from a general acknowledgment of cultural routes as a tourist practice of minor importance or a second best option for fragile, off-the-beaten-path areas. On the contrary, this session considers cultural routes as a major issue. Geography can be leading a cultural and scientific movement of increasingly importance at national and international level. By moving a step further from theoretical research, knowledge produced around cultural routes shall move towards policy and planning boards in connection with the Council of Europe and Unesco, while rescaling the debate around cultural routes and adopting a sustainability approach.

The session would like to question the planning and management agenda for cultural routes as it emerges from a larger involvement of stakeholders in the co-construction of cultural heritage. The process of selection, conservation and promotion of tangible and intangible elements as cultural heritage at the core of cultural routes is increasingly integrating expertise from practitioners, researchers, institutions and civic networks. For this reason, cultural routes are more often conceived as a co-constructive process among a variety of local actors supportive of social participation.

Inclusive inter- and trans-disciplinary debate is therefore needed. On one side, different geographical languages, theories and methodologies are called to dialogue among each other; on the other side, it is urgent to bridge and compare geographical knowledge with other disciplines’ advancements in a sustainability approach to planning. This cross-fertilization is also aimed to providing new forms of practical expertise that can answer contemporary expectations in a place-based approach.
With these references, the session welcomes proposals about cultural routes, transectorial challenges and interdisciplinarity at the core of cultural heritage co-construction. Eg:

  • the role of geographical imageries
  • social participation in cultural routes
  • contamination between cultural economies and cultural tourism economies
  • inclusive heritage-making policies and experiences involving previously non legitimised stakeholders
  • sacred heritage between obsolescence, abandonment and future
  • controversies and negotiations between activists, residents, institutions
  • new creative practices for discovering regions and cities
  • Roman itineraies
  • cultural routes in a gendered perspective
  • management of cultural routes in a systematic and synergetic manner
  • exemplary case studies of reinvestment and reuse consistent with the local environment
  • cultural routes in marginal areas characterised by depopulation

KEYWORDS: Cultural routes, methodologies, geographical imaginaries, sustainable tourism, urban planning & design.

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