Silk Cities Conference 2019
In a post-crisis situation, the interrelation of historic urban context, cultural heritage, social, psychological and economic factors presents a highly complex scenario for decision makers, practitioners and affected local populations. This is a matter of increasing international concern which has been highlighted by recent disasters of both natural and human origin.
The conference themes of reconstruction, recovery and resilience relate both to the protection, reinstatement and restoration of built and historic urban fabric and to the broader but related issues of social cohesion, intangible cultural heritage and psychological wellbeing. An over-arching concern is the dynamic between people and nature and between the built and natural environments. Beyond the repair of monuments, the dynamic layers of urban heritage greatly complicate the already complex matter of urban reconstruction and retrofit, and impact on initial expectations as well as envisioned improvements from reconstruction activities and the way they are managed.
The conference aims to offer new perspectives and strategies on linking urban processes, reconstruction approaches and heritage issues and to push the traditional theoretical and practical boundaries in order to improve the future of post-crisis reconstruction in historic cities. The focussed, multidisciplinary approach of the conference relates to the UN Habitat III agenda, the Sendai framework on disasters and resilience and the themes of the International Committee on Monuments and Sites [ICOMOS].
L’Aquila, the host city will offer a unique opportunity as a living laboratory to bring together theory, policy and practice. 2019 marks the tenth anniversary of the L’Aquila earthquake which devastated the city and its historic centre and affected around 100,000 people who lived in the city and its surrounding areas. While rebuilding work is still ongoing, economic and social recovery is struggling to find a footing in what had been a thriving and vivacious city centre.
The conference purposefully provides a unique platform to engage not only with international academics and practitioners but also the citizens of L’Aquila, many of whom have been active participants in initiatives aimed at social recovery. Recent experiences in L’Aquila provide an opportunity to assess what has been achieved and what could have been done differently and to look at what has to be pushed forward to initiate social and economic recovery. Dedicated sessions will be considered in the programme, in order to facilitate discussions and co-production of further practical ideas. The city and its people stand to benefit from the global, dispersed, knowledge on the subject matter that will be gathered in the city during the conference.
The conference programme will comprise a mixture of formal academic presentations, interactive sessions dedicated to the practical issues of L’Aquila, a guided tour of reconstruction in the city, as well as social events and an optional conference dinner. The programme has been designed to encourage social interaction and informal discussions and to allow exploration of potential synergies. This is the third Silk Cities conference and it will address three interconnected themes of reconstruction, recovery and resilience which are specific to the particular circumstances of the host city but also applicable in other cases of post-crisis reconstruction of historic cities. Selected conference papers will be published in a peer-reviewed journal or book at the recommendation of our scientific committee.
15-20 minute papers are invited under the following three themes:
Managing reconstruction, heritage and city planning
- Reconstructing cultural heritage and rediscovering civic identity.
- Heritage-oriented reconstruction vs reconstruction-oriented heritage restoration.
- Post-crisis masterplanning.
- Linking urban development processes and reconstruction processes.
- Big data in reconstruction: potential and limitations.
- Information technology and smarter reconstruction.
- Communicating urban heritage and reconstruction.
- Transparency and communication in decision making.
- Who is cultural heritage for?
- Public engagement and civic participation.
- The audience for reconstruction: local or global?
City recovery: Social, Psychological, Economic and Cultural Heritage
- Cultural heritage as a stimulus for recovery.
- Narratives of approach to disaster and recovery.
- Social, psychological and economic recovery.
- Linkages between reconstruction process and socio-economic recovery.
- Reclaiming cultural heritage.
- Economic and political stimuli for urban recovery.
- Information technology and the resurgence of historic cities.
- The role of information technology in city recovery.
- Social media disaster response policies and practice.
- Rebuilding confidence in the capacities of the city.
- Tourism and heritage cities.
Linking urban resilience and cultural heritage
- Knowing the city, owning the city.
- Engaging the next generation: reconnecting younger citizens with heritage.
- • Pre-crisis masterplanning and preparedness.
- Risk communication and public awareness in in historic cities.
- Cultural heritage as a means to building resilience.
- Smarter cities, data sharing and risk modelling.
- Information technology and civic resilience.
- Tourism and heritage cities.
The organising committee welcomes creative proposals, which have the potential to fully engage with the conference participants and/or local stakeholders.