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CPM and PREIT-tour receive funding for cultural heritage, leisure and tourism project

Updated: Feb 1

In a recent and innovative academic initiative, two research groups from the University of Cuenca, Ecuador, have been named winners in the university's 20th research project competition. The PREIT-tour research group from the Faculty of Hospitality Sciences and the World Heritage City (CPM) research group from the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning have joined forces to carry out a pioneering project titled "Cultural Heritage, Leisure, and Tourism: Analysis of Consensus and Disputes Over the Use and Enjoyment of Public Space in the Historic Center of Cuenca, Ecuador." This proposal, now with funding and institutional support, focuses on analyzing the complex dynamics surrounding the use of public space in the Historic Center of Cuenca, an area of great cultural and heritage significance.

The project is particularly relevant in the current context, following the COVID-19 pandemic, where economic reactivation has spurred renewed interest in the use of public spaces in heritage areas. There is a growing trend of tourism enterprises accessing these spaces, leading to tensions with other groups and activities, including residents and informal workers. These dynamics pose significant challenges in terms of equity and accessibility. The research aims to identify guidelines and recommendations to ensure democratic and sustainable use of these spaces, focusing on sociopraxis as a methodology. This involves constant dialogue with institutional actors and civil society, aiming not only to address local issues but also to contribute to the construction of more inclusive and resilient cities globally.

The project's preliminary results suggest an increase in pressure from tourism enterprises on public space, highlighting the need for adapted strategies to manage these spaces in a way that benefits all involved parties. The research has the potential to become a model for other cities and human settlements, offering a framework to balance cultural and heritage value with economic and social needs. This holistic approach to urban heritage and tourism management is a step forward in promoting urban development that is truly inclusive, safe, and sustainable.

Photo credit: Go Raymi

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