Re-starting from catacombs: a COST project for Underground Heritage

Catacombs, galleries, caves, hypogeums and, in general, the Underground Built Heritage is an extraordinary chance of valorization for cities and communities. This is the assumption of the COST project Underground4Value, promoted by CNR of Naples, involving more than twenty european and mediterranean countries.

The project will establish and implement an expert network, aiming at promoting balanced and sustainable approaches for the conservation of the underground heritage. At the same time it will focus the potential of underground space in urban and rural areas for regeneration policies.

The experts are organised in three working groups: Underground space conservation and monitoring; underground Heritage-Led urban and rural regeneration; Planning and governance tools. Each expert will share best-practices, by reporting on governance mechanisms, planning framework, stakeholders’ involvement management, financing mechanisms, technical needs, and their direct impacts on the underground built environment preservation, environment, society and economy, as well as potential negative externalities (i.e. ‘gentrification’, hard-branding, mass tourism, recreational villages, underground degradation…).

Collected information will be the basis for developing new research and training, open and accessible to all parties interested in the underground regeneration. The project will provide knowledge on main technical and organisational barriers to the underground regeneration and correlated solutions.

“Our aim is guaranteeing continuity of use and significance to the underground historic fabric, revitalisation of the public realm and skills development for townspeople – the chair, Giuseppe Pace, researcher at CNR of Neaples, said. It will disseminate knowledge on underground culture and assist local communities’ decision-making with adequate cultural, scientific and technical knowledge of the underground built environment from many different aspects”. The working groups are very differentiated and they have and interdisciplinary approach (i.e. archaeology, geotechnics, history, urban planning, cultural anthropology, economics, architecture, cultural tourism).

Finally, the project will contribute to other EU programmes implementation”.

The actions will last four years and will start with an international congress held in Ancona on June 6th and 7th.

Here is the complete plan.