Community development, Cultural Heritage

Community Building(s)

Protecting local cultural heritage through civic empowerment


Who is behind this?


Idea pitch

Economic downturn in the city of Vratza has impeded proper care for historic buildings, although cultural heritage is key to economic development. Our one-year program will build a community around the issue while working with local authorities to develop a plan for the conservation of cultural heritage. The program will be the main empowerment tool for the citizens of Vratza on the road to civic participation in urban development. We can start of a process toward a healthy urban landscape now!

Where will your project idea take place?

Vratza, Northwestern Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Immobile cultural heritage in the town, and Bulgaria as a whole has slowly been disappearing due to lack of maintenance funds, gentrification, pressure from investors and low legal protection. Many have expressed concern about the state of the city’s cultural heritage, yet the public has not been able to consolidate itself to act on the topic. The complexity of the legal framework relating to cultural heritage requires expertise not readily available in the city. Our proposal aims to assess the needs of the local community, and make it a factor in future urban interventions. Through capacity building the community will be better equipped to channel their needs into legislative proposals, and conservation programs.

Who are you doing it for?

1. Community building workshops - 60 participants from the poorest EU region - youth activists, residents, homeowners, small business owners, local authorities, and other stakeholders.
2. Capacity building for at least 3 teams with interdisciplinary expertise to take action on site
3. Audiences - 1 national architectural organization, local youth organizations, local, regional and national media.

How do you plan to get there?

1.Community Building workshops (3 months)

A)Development of workshops with regional specifics accommodated to the target groups with trained specialists.
B) Outreach using word of mouth, local tv/radio stations, social media
C) Execution of 3 modules for 60 stakeholders each focusing on building dialogue, and working with immovable cultural heritage.

2.Creation and execution of a competition. (6 months)

A) Developing a competition for expert concepts for a conceptual program for sustainable cultural heritage preservation in the city
B) Outreach via creation of our own website dedicated to the cause, local and national media, local tourism websites, professional magazines, and others.
C) Execution: Creating a call for expert concepts,forming a jury of experts, stakeholders, local community leaders, local authorities. Receiving concept proposals. Members of community will work with the expert teams to create concepts in order to get a clear idea of institutional processes, and provide input on previously identified needs.
D) Assessment of results

3. Communicating the results with the main stakeholders. (3 months)

A) Evaluation and analysis of winning programs B) Presentation of results of wide public C) Presentation and discussion of results with local authorities.
D) Development of action plan for implementation with local community and municipality

What are the expected results?

1. Result from community building - generated knowledge and clear understanding of the priorities of different social groups. Involvement of members of local authorities, and advocacy for the topic of sustainable cultural heritage policies.

2. Result from the competition - 3 possible historical preservation programs with analysis and action plans, developed by experts together with local stakeholders.

3. Final result - developed action plan approved by both municipality and local community for the next 5 years until the end of current EU programing period - 2021 -2027

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

1. Еnabling active participation of citizens in forming local policies regarding urban interventions. Spreading knowledge of legislative, and institutional structures and training of skills for effective activism. Dialogue and advocacy with local authorities

2. Attracting groups of highly skilled professionals to translate local community priorities into effective action plans. Working on the issues along with the local community will help create an understanding of local issues in the professional sphere.

3. Creating tools for impact in decision making processes - having developed detailed concepts measuring social, and economic impact along with construction processes will serve as a roadmap to future interventions by both the public, and local authorities

Why is this idea important to you?

Concern for our shared heritage

Svetla Boyukliiska-Popova - founder of “Homes of Vratza”, chief initiator of discussions about social development for immovable cultural heritage in the city
Arch. Vesselin Alexiev - specialized in cultural heritage, worked on ICH projects of national significance but most importantly grew up in Vratza
Zornitsa Draganova - Cultural studies researcher, specializing in the field of cultural policies at the Bulgarian academy of sciences
Ivo Anev PhD - econonomics specialist, worked as internal expert on multiple international and local projects concerning urban intervention. Civic inclusion and participation enthusiast.
Alexander Alexandrov - retired journalist and marketing consultant for WAZ-Mediengruppe, local opinion maker and history enthusiast

€ 39400,-

Total budget

€ 34400,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

1. Competition expenses (6 months) 14400 EUR
2. Project management (12 months) 12000 EUR
3. Workshops (3 months) 3000 EUR
4. Advertising and online presence (12 months) 2000 EUR
5. Consumables (12 months) 1000 EUR
6. Travel and accommodation (12 months) 1000 EUR
7. External expenses (12 months) 1000 EUR

1. Video equipment; drones, cameras etc (12 months) 3000 EUR
2. Educational center facilities (12 months) 2000 EUR
3. Volunteer work /100 hours / 2000 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would like feedback on:
1. Approaching wider local audience
2. Sustainability of the idea
3. Others' experience with similar projects - good practices, and lessons learned



Ivo Anev


Idea created on April 12, 2021
Last edit on April 16, 2021

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