About the project

After the great changes in Central and Eastern Europe in the last 30 years, the region has a legacy of many redundant industrial sites and buildings. The burden of this is well-known to all Visegrad countries: as a result of deindustrialization, once prosperous industrial sites and buildings lack a proper function that would benefit the local communities and the national economy, located in regions with high unemployment rates and disintegrating communities. Some Western European countries and the US have already experienced this phase and developed strategies to build on the economic and social potential of industrial heritage and to turn it into a transformative force.

The project will link experts from regions where heritage reuse has a long tradition with those from places where it is an emerging field, but a pressing issue too, such as the Visegrad countries, so as to identify the specific challenges and find new solutions by adapting already existing heritage strategies. Reusing industrial heritage is still an emerging discipline in our region, so there is a need for a multidisciplinary body of experts, including the field of heritage, who can recognize these opportunities and help industrial heritage to become a driver for economic development and community empowerment. The expert network & new knowledge generated by our project can be a resource for policymakers and developers focusing on industrial heritage. Our project addresses the gap between heritage specialists focusing on heritage assets, and urban planning policymakers and developers focusing on social and economic development.

The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.

Phases of the project

In Phase 1, we organize an online summer course as part of the summer course series at CEU https://summeruniversity.ceu.edu/industrial-heritage-2020 to connect experts from the region and to provide a platform for knowledge transfer from regions with relevant experience. It focuses on the potential of industrial heritage as a transformative force in post-industrial regions. The 5-day online course will be jointly organized by all partners with their active contribution, bringing their expertise in many areas. We invite lecturers from Western European countries and the United States to share their interpretations and practices. The 20 participants will be practitioners in relevant fields of the region to channel the result of the knowledge exchange to their own projects.

In Phase 2, as a follow-up to the course, we plan to continue the cooperation as a network of academics and practitioners. During autumn 2020 when face-to-face meetings are possible, a further one-day workshop to develop this network will be held. This face-to-face workshop will be essential to build mutual understanding and confidence to support the network.
Workshop 1 on December 15, 2020.
Workshop 2 on January 15, 2021.

In Phase 3 this network will engage with experts and practitioners by organizing a workshop. The workshop in April will be a follow-up event of the summer university course, offering the opportunity to fully concentrate on the problems and challenges of the Visegrad countries with regard to the reuse of industrial heritage. It will also reflect on new challenges and use the occasion to reflect on how the reuse possibilities of industrial sites have been affected by the COVID epidemic and the ensuing economic and social crisis. The workshop will be three days long, with a decidedly academic focus on the first day, looking at the issue of industrial heritage reuse in the Visegrad 4 countries from a scientific point of view, building on the results of the summer university. The second day will then take a step forward, have a practice-oriented, policy focus. It will be designed to welcome practitioners and municipal employees, who are more likely to attend shorter events. The first two days will be used to strengthen the network that has been developed since the summer course. The third day will be a study trip, visiting industrial towns in NW Hungary, and visiting Bratislava’s Old Market Hall, which is operated by a project partner. The questions raised and discussed, and the knowledge generated during the summer course will serve as a solid background of the discussion during the workshop. A summary of the workshop will be transferred into an online publication, that will also help the dissemination of the project results and their sustainability.


Városkutatás Kft. | Metropolitan Research Institute
Website: https://mri.hu/en/
Budapest-based Metropolitan Research Institute (MRI) is an internationally and nationally recognized scientific think-tank, founded in 1989. Its research is primarily focused on urban development, housing and social policy, with a particular focus on Central Eastern Europe. MRI has worked on issues of integrated urban development; poverty and social exclusion; homelessness and Roma integration policies; and housing finance. It has elaborated integrated urban development plans and feasibility studies for urban social rehabilitations. Lately, as the coordinator of OpenHeritage (H2020), MRI started to focus on the interrelated policies of adaptive heritage reuse and urban development. This application is entirely in line with MRI’s mission, as industrial areas are among our main concerns; and due to the broadening possibilities for international cooperation.
Coordinator: Dr. Hanna Szemző

Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně | Tomas Bata University in Zlín
Website: https://www.utb.cz/en/
Coordinator: Dr. Milan Balaban

MOD Spółka z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością | MOD LLC
Website: www.materiality.pl
MATERIALITY is joint-venture of MOD Sp. z o.o. and EMCG Sp. z o.o with the main goal to support its clients in a transition towards more sustainable business models. It excels in a holistic approach, from focusing on the interests of all stakeholders to taking into account all aspects and elements of business ventures and their impact on society and environment. Its activities started with supporting public companies in meeting their non-financial reporting obligations and are currently developing into advisory for both private and public sector. Circular economy is becoming an important part of the framework, encompassing such challenges as the built environment, including heritage areas, local economy, public utility and green procurement.
Coordinator: Dr. Katarzyna Sadowy

Aliancia Stará Tržnica | Alliance of Old market hall
Website: https://staratrznica.sk
Coordinator: Mark Ladiver

Közép-európai Egyetem / Central European University
Website: https://medievalstudies.ceu.edu/chs
The Cultural Heritage Studies Program combines theoretical and practical education, offering a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches with a strong emphasis on practical knowledge and skills based on fieldwork, and internships with local, regional and global heritage organizations. Graduates of the program will be capable of working at various levels in cultural heritage and resource research, protection, and management.
Coordinator: Volodymyr Kulikov


Apply now: Postgraduate summer course on “Industrial Heritage as a Source of Social Empowerment and Economic Revitalization”

Apply now: Online postgraduate summer course on “Industrial Heritage as a Source of Social Empowerment and Economic Revitalization” at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest, Hungary, 6 July – 10 July 2020. Learn about how an industrial heritage site can be converted from a problematic legacy into a social and economic resource. The multidisciplinary faculty …