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The economic enhancement of military sites and landscapes: what are the lessons of international practice?

Brau, Rinaldo and Statzu, Vania (2017): The economic enhancement of military sites and landscapes: what are the lessons of international practice? Published in:

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Abstract

The presence of military assets characterizes the landscape of the areas where the asset is located also in socio-economic terms. In our analysis, we first distinguish between “historical” sites covering events up to the Second World War, and “recent sites” related to the Cold War. We also distinguish between tangible heritage, such as constructions and artefacts of various ages, and intangible heritage, mainly areas where battles and major military events took place. Battlefields form the core of a variety of tourism products: from cultural and educational tourism, to commemoration of events with re-enactment of battles, to the so-called “memory tourism”, up to the so-called “dark tourism”. We start with a short analysis of strategies adopted by public administration to dismantle and reuse historical military sites, focusing on the shift from a totally public management to the gradual involvement of privates. Usually, reuse of historical sites is addressed to tourism and cultural purposes. Then, we focus on the Cold War heritage, characterised by larger areas, important infrastructures and high environmental contamination. Private investment is fundamental to the reuse and management of these sites. A wide range of possibility of reuse has been identified. Finally, we analyse battlefield-related tourism megatrends. Our analysis aims to make a review of reuse of military sites, especially where economic data are available to verify the amount of resources used or catalysed by the reuse of a military sites. During the analysis, we will proceed to identify the main characteristics of the reuse process. These and other information will be useful to derive general indications on what are the economic potentials (and limits) of Sardinian military vestments, considered in their dual nature of tangible asset and intangible heritage. In addition, we discuss the application of economic valuation tools to closure and reuse of military sites.

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