The Cultural Heritage - Territorial Capital nexus: theory and empirics / Il nesso tra Patrimonio Culturale e Capitale Territoriale: teoria ed evidenza empirica

Roberto Camagni, Roberta Capello, Silvia Cerisola, Elisa Panzera


The potential role of cultural heritage in local development has been extensively recognized, both at the academic and institutional level. Its conservation and valorization, however, have been at the center of a lively debate between those who see preservation policies as a mere moral duty and those who see them as part of a wider forward-looking strategy to support economic evolution and performance. This is especially the case now, with the Covid-19 pandemic casting additional doubts on the most effective schemes to face and overcome the current crisis. Within this context, the present paper aims at discussing the relationship between cultural heritage and local development in an original manner. Overcoming the traditional idea that the linkage takes place merely through touristic activities, this work puts forward the idea that Cultural Heritage represents one of the multiple elements of what is called “territorial capital” (TC), i.e. the set of territorial assets - material and immaterial, public and private, cognitive and relational - that generates endogenous development. The effects of Cultural Heritage on local development stem from its interaction with the other elements of TC, and in particular from the intermediation of intangible territorial elements like creativity, identity and quality of governance. The paper explains the reasons for such linkages and provides empirical evidence in this sense.


Il ruolo potenzialmente ricoperto dal patrimonio culturale nell’influenzare lo sviluppo economico locale è stato ampiamente riconosciuto sia a livello accademico che istituzionale. Tuttavia, conservazione e valorizzazione del patrimonio culturale sono al centro di un vivo dibattito tra coloro che considerano le politiche di conservazione come mero dovere morale e coloro che invece riconoscono tale attività all’interno di una più ampia e lungimirante strategia a supporto delle dinamiche di sviluppo economico. La pandemia di Covid-19 ha insinuato ulteriori dubbi riguardo le strategie più efficaci per affrontare e superare l’attuale crisi. Il lavoro proposto in questo articolo ha l’obiettivo, all’interno di questo contesto, di discutere il legame tra patrimonio culturale e sviluppo locale proponendo un approccio originale. Superando la tradizionale idea secondo cui tale legame si concretizza esclusivamente attraverso le attività turistiche, il nostro lavoro suggerisce l’idea di patrimonio culturale come uno dei molteplici elementi facenti parte del cosiddetto “capitale territoriale” e cioè quell’insieme di elementi territoriali – materiali e immateriali, pubblici e privati, cognitivi e relazionali – che genera sviluppo endogeno. Gli effetti del patrimonio culturale sullo sviluppo locale derivano dalle sue interazioni con gli altri elementi di capitale territoriale, e in modo particolare dalla mediazione di elementi territoriali intangibili quali la creatività, l’identità e la qualità della governance locale. L’articolo spiega le ragioni di questi legami e ne fornisce una corrispondente evidenza empirica.

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