Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. project in Halandri forsees the reintroduction into city life of the roman Hadrian aqueduct. The ancient underground infrastructure will gain contemporary value returning to serve the city with its original function, but also becoming the pivotal element in a wider strategy for the conservation and cultivation of local cultural capital, the establishment of stronger links in the community at large, and the sustainable regeneration of city spaces. A strong potential in the project is represented by the possibility to raise local cultural and natural heritage awareness and to contribute to citizens’ wellbeing: to get there the project puts in place a set of actions that would strengthen local memories and identities, concretely contributing to conservation and cultivation of local cultural capital, improving the quality of collective spaces by enhancing walkability and access to quality natural and green areas.
As many different dimensions integrate and intertwine (cultural, social, environmental, economic aspects have strong correlation), the initiative puts an accent on commoning and citizens’ empowerment, with water as the connecting point between heritage and community, physical and intangible actions, symbolic values and emerging vocations, sustainable uses of resources and resilient urban development. This first journal reports on how the different dimensions of the initiative have been framed, explored and elaborated along the first 16 months of activity. It describes project advancements, development trajectories, obstacles and main difficulties, discussing how the local approach relates to the larger debate on how we can “make our cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (UN Agenda 2030, SDG 11).
Section 2 reports on how the initiative connects to ERDF funds, and about the way it intercepts EU, national and regional frameworks for action. The chapter will also discuss how the initiative core concepts relate to the Greek National Growth Strategy for the future delivered by the national government in 2018. Section 3 explores how Cultural H.ID.RA.N.T. is connected to the current EU debate on Cultural Heritage, with a particular focus on the importance of a cross-cutting approach for culture, and on the perspective of heritage-led urban development and regeneration.
Section 4 and 5 explore the achievements of these first 16 months, with an emphasis on main tasks and objectives implementation, and a further elaboration on obstacles, barriers and unplanned consequences emerging from action. Finally an analysis of the seven UIA implementation challenges is provided, highlighting the most relevant aspects concerning the “state of the art” of the process, such as: the upscaling of the initiative at metropolitan scale, the structuring of the public procurement tenders for the the new water infrastructure and the new public spaces, the participatory and engagement activities progress (pre and post covid restrictions). Some crucial aspects will be outlined on actors and organizations networking, such as the difficulties in the engagement of public officers and technical bodies of the City and the potential offered by the local ecosystem of stakeholders.