Heritage Opportunities/threats within Mega-Events in Europe (HOMEE)
The Heritage Opportunities/threats within Mega-Events in Europe (HOMEE) project brought together leading research centres working in the fields of cultural heritage preservation and mega-event planning to investigate the ways in which cities use mega-events to support economic development. Funded by the European Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage, the project also involved key institutions and policy officers specialised in heritage policy and in the planning and implementation of mega-events in Europe. It generated the Charter for Mega-Events in Heritage-rich Cities to help decision-makers and heritage actors face emerging challenges.
The HOMEE project was jointly carried out by researchers from Politecnico di Milano (Italy), University of Hull (United Kingdom), Neapolis University Pafos (Cyprus) and the International Cultural Center (Poland). It involved 16 associate partners, including national and local institutions and non-profit organisations dealing with heritage and mega-events from across Europe, such as the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and the Arts, UK Heritage Lottery Fund, National Heritage Board of Poland, Matera-Basilicata 2019 ECoC Foundation, City of Milan, District of Pafos, ENCATC and the University Network of the European Capitals of Culture (UNeECC).
In the past, many cities used mega-events to support capital investments and boost their international visibility, primarily through the creation of new infrastructure, stadiums and other public facilities to host events. However, many mega-event organisers are increasingly focusing on the re-use of existing facilities and the regeneration of inner-city and surrounding areas. For heritage-rich European cities, this paradigm shift represents both an opportunity and a threat.
The HOMEE project has built up significant new knowledge concerning the intersection of mega-event planning and cultural heritage. The main outputs of the project include: a state-of-the-art literature review regarding the nexus between cultural heritage and mega-events; a book titled “Mega-events and heritage: The experience of five European cities,” which documents the case studies of five past mega-events in heritage-rich cities; the reports “Urban heritage and mega-events: The case of Matera-Basilicata 2019 European Capital of Culture” and “Events through the Covid-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Europe”; the special issue “Cultural Mega-events and Heritage: Challenges for European Cities” published by the European Planning Studies journal in March 2022; and the Charter for Mega-Events in Heritage-rich Cities.
“HOMEE has established an important quality framework to help strike the balance when organising mega-events in heritage cities. The project promotes dialogue and innovation in the sphere of European cultural heritage in relation to urban planning, involving academia, cultural actors, local leaders, private enterprises and communities for the resolution of emerging challenges in rapidly changing contexts, with a view on the post-pandemic era,” stated the Awards’ Jury.