heritage, spatial development, heritage management, social enterprises, cultural centers


Culture is an important driver of innovation for heritage management and spatial development. In recent years, many scholars have analysed this phenomenon to understand the effects on the territory (Dodd, 2020). Culture indeed has a transformative ability to create new flows and growth in the urban space. It positively affects the enhancement of local resources, and promotes social interaction and community spaces (Clark & Wise, 2018). In recent years, much attention has been given to the creative regeneration of marginalised heritage, such as productive heritage (Areces, 2005; Scaffidi, 2021). In Europe there are many cases that have recycled disused heritage through art and culture. At the heart of the debate are innovative communities, where cultural initiatives, art exhibitions, alternative forms of education and cooperation keep heritage alive. These are places often managed by social enterprises that involve citizens and local governments.

These innovative social enterprises indeed promote the creative reactivation of neglected assets through cultural activities, services, and community involvement. Numerous studies have shown that these centres are able to create open and inclusive urban spaces (Scaffidi 2021; Schröder, 2018). They foster moments of debate and social interaction (Walker et al. 2004). These cultural enterprises aim to innovate in the art sector with new management models that promote culture, through social innovation practices. Many policies have been developed to support these enterprises to enhance local assets (Cerreta et Al., 2021). They promote a more open governance that includes stakeholders in decision-making processes, which innovates the development of assets culturally, socially, economically and environmentally.

The research aims to discuss the importance of innovative cultural centres for the development of cities and the reactivation of underused heritage. Considering this purpose, the research examines specific examples where socio-cultural actions have been the driving force behind the creative regeneration of productive assets and spatial innovation. Today, creativity is an important factor in urban transformation. Culture enhances the innovative capacities of a society and plays a relevant role in spatial reactivation. The socio-cultural dimension is explicitly expressed in some examples of heritage reactivation.