Advancing Cultural Heritage Governance for Resilient Climate Adaptation (AGREE)

Description

AGREE is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council - UK; Ministry of Education, Universities and Research (MUR) - Italy; and Research Council of Norway - Norway. Grant reference AH/Z000017/1 (UK).

Climate change - a multifaceted challenge interwoven with social, economic, and environmental dimensions - defies simplistic solutions. Despite global efforts, the pursuit of sustainability has fallen short, hindered by a narrow technical focus. This limited perspective has impeded the development of integrated, context-specific solutions.

In response, AGREE champions transformative sustainability, emphasizing interdisciplinary methodologies and societal shifts. It explores the intricate link between cultural heritage governance, climate adaptation, and community resilience, rooted in responses to flooding in urban contexts.

We promote the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) concept for integrative decision-making in climate adaptation, considering community resilience amidst environmental changes. An interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) platform will illuminate this interplay over time.

We will also produce an innovative decision-making model grounded in the HUL paradigm. This model juxtaposes current national and local policies enabling cultural heritage integration in climate adaptation with historical data sources revealing urban resilience lessons and changes in the built environment over time. We employ transformative governance concepts to evaluate decision-makers' comprehension of these synergies and their perspectives.

The project advances transformative climate adaptation by uncovering potentials and barriers within heritage governance in case studies from the UK, Norway, and Italy.

Beyond research, AGREE will shape policies with multi-scalar and crosssectoral governance, interpreting climate intricacies through cultural heritage. It will strengthen global, national, and local heritage-focused climate strategies through partnerships with the British Council, International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the UK's Department for Culture, Media, and Sport and local stakeholders, such as Hull City Council (UK) and Innlandet Region (Norway).

We will also engage with the public, raising climate adaptation awareness and mobilizing collective action, benefiting governmental climate efforts.

Research overview

AGREE emerges as an innovative and timely research project in response to conventionally linear solutions that have hindered integrated, context-specific and sustainable climate adaptation actions. 

It focuses on the systemic relationship between cultural heritage governance, climate adaptation, and community resilience, historically developed through responses to flooding in three urban contexts in the UK, Norway, and Italy.

AGREE will advance the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) concept as a foundation for transformative decision-making in the cultural heritage governmental sector for climate adaptation strategies.

The project addresses three spheres for transformative change:

  • the institutional sphere by questioning the status quo of current policy and planning
  • the technological sphere with an interactive Geographic Information System (GIS) platform that integrates heritage-based data to illuminate cultural heritage as a source for resilience and adaptive responses 
  • the individual sphere by evaluating decision-makers’ understanding of the synergies between cultural heritage and climate adaption, and fostering informed responses that integrate national and local interests, including community values and identities.

Focusing on the case studies of Kingston upon Hull (UK), Lillehammer, Innlandet (Norway), and Turin (Italy), AGREE will uncover hidden potentials and barriers within cultural heritage governance. It will also produce an innovative HUL-based decision-making model to visualize past and new urban and climate interdependencies, comparing current national and local policy discourses with historical data sources that reveal lessons in urban resilience reflected in local strategies and changes in the built environment over time.

Impact

AGREE’s mission extends beyond knowledge advancement; it’s a determined effort to create tangible impacts and enhance societal relevance.

Our impact strategy targets diverse audiences – including local and national policymakers, international heritage organizations, academics, and the general public – with the aim of informing, inspiring, and engaging stakeholders at all levels.

It seeks to influence both national and local policies, ensuring the integration of cultural heritage and climate adaptation into decision-making. This involves advocating for well-informed, contextually relevant strategies that bridge these domains.

AGREE also fosters collaboration among local and national government departments and agencies, facilitating transnational connections and exchange. Globally, it aims to enhance heritage-focused climate strategies within wider policy discourse, ensuring AGREE’s impact resonates across diverse policy arenas, strengthened by influential cross-border partnerships. 

AGREE is dedicated to raising awareness and promoting public participation in climate adaptation, aiming to exert substantial influence on policymaking through informed public engagement.