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Project/initiative|Italy, Germany|Transnational

HERIWELL: Cultural Heritage as a Source of Societal Well-being in European Regions

Project title

HERIWELL: Cultural Heritage as a Source of Societal Well-being in European Regions

Description of initiative

The objective of this research is to develop a pan-European methodology and territorial analysis on the impacts of cultural heritage on society, considering well-being, social inclusion and other aspects. The research shall cover both material and intangible cultural heritage and the impact should be associated with: - Presence of material cultural heritage (stock of buildings and other objects).
- Consumption and use of cultural heritage. - Digitalization of cultural heritage.
- EU funded investments in cultural heritage.
- Activities (policies) aimed at increasing the positive impact of cultural heritage and diminishing the negative impact.
The geographical scope of HERIWELL encompasses all 32 European countries participating in the ESPON Programme (EU countries, UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland).
Expected Results:
The main outcome will be a methodological framework defining the most important societal domains in which the impact of cultural heritage can be observed and evidence of such impact. In principle it would mean a profound focus on societal benefits of cultural heritage in terms of quality of life in European regions, by looking at material well-being, education, health, social inclusion and equality, life satisfaction and happiness, etc.'
The study will quantify the impact over the past 10 years by establishing comparable socio-economic indicators and engaging in data collection from national statistical institutes, registers. Big data where applicable. The research will aim for an overall illustration of the extent to which cultural heritage has an impact on societal well-being in Europe and provide comparative analysis of different European regions where appropriate.
The impact of European, national, regional and local policies, strategies, legal mechanisms and regulatory frameworks aimed at preserving and maintaining cultural heritage or increasing its use will be addressed to support research process and findings. Over 40 thematic or country experts and other specialists from across Europe will be involved.
The research project should thus answer the following key policy questions:
- How can the societal impact of cultural heritage be defined? In which societal domains does cultural heritage contribute? How significant is this contribution?
- How to measure the societal impact of cultural heritage? How to express it in quantitative terms, considering reliability and validity, at the territorial level?
- What are the differences between the societal impact of cultural heritage in different types of territories?
- How to compare the results on impact of cultural heritage across different European regions?
- How can digitalization of cultural heritage have an impact on well-being in terms of education, knowledge, etc.?
- What are the impacts of EU funded investments in cultural heritage on societal well-being in cities and regions?

Further information on the initiative

Themes: Culture and...

Individual well-being
Community well-being
Mental health
Quality of spaces and built environments
Quality of social relations


cultural heritage, territorial impact, well-being, research, indicators

Target group

Not targeted to a specific group

Cultural field





2020 - 2022

Sources of funding

ESPON 2020 Programme of the EU (from the European Regional Development Fund) & other sources

Results, benefits, impact and lessons learnt



Istituto per la ricerca sociale
NGO / Non-profit | Other


Associazione Acume
Other | Culture
Associazione per l'Economia della Cultua
NGO / Non-profit | Culture
European Association of Cultural Researchers
Other | Other