Europe’s cultural legacy is one of the richest in the world; it draws millions of people every year to our archaeological sites, churches, castles, monuments and museums. Its protection and conservation is a priority, not only to preserve the European cultural identity, but also because Cultural Heritage is a wealth creator that boosts economic impact and tourism-related business opportunities, on which many cities and communities depend.
EU heritage assets are extremely exposed to climate change and natural hazards, which threaten their integrity and may compromise their value.
In the last four decades, many European institutions have carried out works on preventive strategies aimed at protecting the EU cultural sites.
For example, in Italy the pioneering project “Carta del Rischio” began a long and complex survey of territorial-based environmental and human-caused risks that allowed for the first geographic mapping of Cultural Heritage at risk in the entire country. The same work has been carried out:
- In UK in 1998, within the regional reports on the “Buildings at Risk”.
- In Portugal in 2001, with the “Carta de Risco do Património Arquitectónico”.
- In Greece in 2006, with the research/innovation project CRINNO – EMERIC targeting the tectonic and seismic risk assessment of the historical centres of the main cities of Crete.
- In Turkey in 2008, within the specific targeted research/innovation project PROHITECH, where reversible mixed technologies have been investigated for the earthquake protection of historical buildings.
Although different in their nature and specific objectives, all these projects had prevention and public policies at their core. They all tried to achieve a detailed knowledge of the general condition of the country’s national heritage, and where unstructured support is given by existing disaster procedures. But none of them has focused on the following step: What to do next?
STORM project incorporates such valuable information in a practical and useful set of tools for heritage safeguarding, taking it to a higher level. By making the processes user-focused and citizen-centred, STORM brings together wider awareness of protection and prevention than ever before. The project enables to go far beyond the current state of the art by way of:
- Preventive actions on the conservation of historic structures.
- Emergency measures to mitigate natural or climate change caused disasters.
- A network of shared knowledge and tools among all European partners.
STORM tools and services are introduced both at macro level, to give a global view of the entire value chain, and at specific level, to promote the improvement of specific processes for protection and prevention. The STORM integrated framework manages those modules to provide a view that can be drilled down, giving stakeholders the possibility to improve it.
STORM, therefore, is completely in line with the EU policy statement “Towards an integrated approach to Cultural Heritage for Europe’s realisation of the value of the EU heritage”.