SHIFT-X: 6 European cities and regions capitalising on their industrial past

A transnational cooperation project is addressing the bad image of former industrial sites, helping them reap the benefits of their cultural heritage.

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New perceptions - Briquet factory in Domsdorf, Germany. © Karsten Feucht, excursio Welzow New perceptions - Briquet factory in Domsdorf, Germany. © Karsten Feucht, excursio Welzow

Once centres of economic development in Central Europe, many old industrial regions have to re-position themselves due to globalisation and economic transformation processes. Six central European regions and cities with strong industrial pasts have teamed up with two institutions specialised in regional development and heritage preservation to run the SHIFT-X project. Their common objective is to develop and disseminate approaches on how industrial culture can be used for fostering economic development as well as for changing social settings and perceptions.

Elaboration and implementation of management and public relations concepts

SHIFT-X focuses on three key areas: improving cultural management structures; innovating heritage-based products; and changing the image of old-industrial sites. The main activities comprise the exchange of experience fostering the elaboration of concepts and tools as well as their implementation. In addition, various public relations campaigns to raise awareness are also being undertaken. 

Through management concepts based on the exchange of best practice, SHIFT-X partner regions are now preserving, promoting and capitalising on their industrial heritage. These concepts are tested in pilot actions such as innovative exhibition design and product development related to industrial heritage. The ultimate goal is to turn industrial heritage into an asset for the sustainable development of structurally disadvantaged regions.

Future sustainability

As well as setting up concepts and approaches for cultural and industrial heritage, the team is busy implementing various public awareness campaigns on the industrial past as well as developing a European Strategy for the Promotion of Industrial Heritage. Moreover, a European tour on industrial heritage takes place in 2014.

“Industrial culture is a great chance to counter the dwindling enthusiasm of the young generation for arts and culture. It is also gaining more and more relevance in the cultural tourism sector. ERIH, the European Route of Industrial Heritage, highly appreciates that European initiatives and projects like SHIFT-X exist that set out to increase awareness for the industrial heritage and to promote it on all levels: local, regional, national and Europe-wide.”

Prof. Dr. Meinrad Maria Grewenig, CEO/General Director of the World Heritage Site Völklinger Hütte, President of ERIH - European Route of Industrial Heritage

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “SHIFT-X ‘Employing cultural heritage as promoter in the economic and social transition of old-industrial regions’ is EUR 1 751 653 of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 1 365 375 from the Operational Programme “CENTRAL EUROPE” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date