University students focus on heritage-led redevelopment of the district.

One of the ambitions of the OpenHeritage project is to spread insights and knowledge about adaptive reuse. The spatial planning department at the Ghent University (one of the main partners in the project) aims to do so by organizing a research journey to the Praga Lab in Warsaw. The theme of the trip was the redevelopment of heritage together with local communities. Due to the Covid-19 measurements, the trip was organized in a digital way together with the partners on site of the OH Praga Lab. The students were dived in tree groups focusing on policy, on mapping and actor relations. The in between results were presented on March 27th in the framework of a webinar, with the local partners present.  Next step will be that the students conduct a comparative study in Ghent. Finally, the group draws joint conclusions about the conditions that make the re-use of heritage with local communities possible or not.

The question that currently exists in Praga is how the heritage in the borough – which is partly vacant and in disrepair – can be re-designated to form a bridge between the original community and the creative newcomers. A participatory process is currently being set up for this by the local architecture center and the city council.

The research and the webinar were part of a course on governance and spatial planning at Ghent University, which focuses on the concordance of historical evolved governance structures with present day issues. The intention has been to develop alternative institutional solutions for those challenges.