The glossary entries are the result of a collaborative process among OpenHeritage consortium partners and have undergone an internal review. However, they only express the perspective of the authors listed under each term, not of all partners. You can find information on the glossary production process and the full glossary here.

Fabriza Cannella
Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy;

Federica Fava
Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy;

Short definition

Connectivity is the capability of adaptive reuse practices to identify the use and organization of a space as an opportunity for a continuous exchange of knowledges and actions, linking local bottom-up projects to multi-scalar spatial relations. Thus, connectivity concerns the physical, institutional, and people-to-people linkages which implement opportunities to collaborate for a territorial integration strategy through community-led adaptive heritage reuse. By ensuring adequate connectivity, these projects create opportunities by bringing together different types of actors and restoring material links (e.g. transport network or more in general physical infrastructures) with other areas in the city to rebuild a heritage site in its broader spatial connections. Overall, connectivity aims at transforming governance relations generated by a specific project into linked-territorial planning, keeping together material and social infrastructure at different scales.

Key discussions around the term

Connectivity is a term widely used in the field of urban planning to refer to the density of connections within the city – in particular in a transport network – with the aim of providing adequate accessibility (both physical as social). In this regard, Madanipour (2010) pointed out that the planning process involves setting up a series of temporal, spatial, and institutional connections which have been subject to rupture and shrinkage. Hence, he identifies the need to rethink connectivity in planning through: new spatial connections that connect the plan and the project, draw on formal and informal mechanisms, plural and participatory and – finally – through new symbolic connections that, rather than marketing places or expressing ambiguous intentions, are created through a democratic process.

Moreover, connectivity has drawn forth a rising interest in the field around regionalism studies and regional integration (see glossary term on regional integration). From this viewpoint, connectivity becomes a priority in terms of public transportation (Castanho et al. 2017), but also in regards to immaterial infrastructure (Fau 2017), policy integration, and collaborative approaches to planning and urban policy (Show and Sykes 2006; European Commission 2011). To conclude, “connectivity” seems to show strong similarities with the concept of integration as applied to policy, territories, actors. Starting with a specific place-based project, the concept of connection/integration (e.g. among stakeholders, governance levels, resources, territorial scale, etc.), represents a crucial factor to improving territorial and community development in its wider spatial structure. From this perspective, issues of connectivity can be bridged with those of urban regeneration and social innovation, specifically within urban strategies such as the “Integrated area development” one (Moulaert and Nussbaumer 2004).

Reference list

Castanho, Rui Alexander, Vulevic, Ana, Fernandez, Josè Cabezas, Fernandez -Pozo, Luis,  Gomez, Josè Manuel Naranjo, and Loures, Luis Carlos. 2017. Accessibility and connectivity – movement between cities, as a critical factor to achieve success on cross-border cooperation (CBC) projects. A European analysis: Sustain. Cities Soc., 32, pp. 181-190.

European Commission. 2011. Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020: Towards an Inclusive, Smart and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions. Online:

Fau, Nathalie. 2016. “Investment in Infrastructure and Regional Integration: Will Connectivity Reduce Inequalities?”. In: ASEAN Economic Community, A model for Asia-wide Regional Integration?, edited by Bruno Jetin and Mia Mikic, pp. 291-310  . New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Madanipuor, Ali. 2010. Connectivity and contingency in planning: Planning Theory, 9 (4), pp. 351-368

Moulaert, Frank, Nussbaumer, Jacques. 2005. Integrated Area Development and social innovation in European cities: European cities, City, 8:2, pp.249-257.

Shaw, David, and Sykes, Oliver. 2005. Addressing Connectivity in Spatial Planning: The Case of the English Regions: Planning Theory & Practice, 6:1, pp. 11-33.