Engage Liverpool has been invited to participate in the ARCH project which links European heritage cities with similar geographies to work together to identify common threats and exchange knowledge on how to tackle them.

The core team is made up of interdisciplinary experts from four Foundation Cities (Bratislava, Camerino, Hamburg, Valencia) each of which have been partnered with further Keystone Cities to engage with each other in a knowledge exchange in the form of mutual learning workshops. This ensures the outcome of the interaction is tailored to actual needs within a local context.

Liverpool is one of the Keystone Cities paired with Hamburg alongside Regensburg and Thessaloniki and we have taken part in four ARCH meetings this year.

The aim is to develop a set of universal methods to increase the resilience of historic areas to natural disasters and human induced hazards employing advanced technologies and tools. Historical areas are defined as socio-ecological systems where culture, economy, politics and society interact with and define nature and the environment and vice versa.

Resilience is defined as the ability of this system to adapt and respond to threats in socially-just ways maintaining the areas’ identity, integrity and authenticity.


One of the noted challenges is how to marry the long-term Climate Change Adaption with the short-term Disaster Risk Reduction, which is where the tools being developed during this project come into play. There will be different tools to be employed at different stages of the Disaster Risk Management Strategy.

During the co-creation process a Disaster Risk Management framework (DRM) is being developed with the cities to prevent damage to cultural heritage, enable a quick and effective response in case of disaster as well as help manage the relevant sites pre-, during and post-disaster.

The work is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS. Another technical partner in the project is the DIN Institute for Standardisation – responsible for analysing the existing standards relevant for the project and transferring the project results into universal standards.

This is done in a parallel workshop for City Resilience Development that Engage also takes part in alongside participants from institutions across Europe. We have attended three of the CEN/WS ARCH meetings so far.

Further reading on their work on resilience building for European cities can be found here: Smart Mature Resilience – European Research Project

It is our ambition as a resident-led organisation to fill any gaps in communications with the help of European experts, so that a more joined up approach can be achieved locally.

Establishing such a communications link between local government, academia and indeed the public would ensure that the idea of protecting our cultural heritage moves from theory into practice consistently and efficiently by drawing upon some of the finest work being done across Europe. This was a project Engage was invited to join because at one time Liverpool was a UNESCO WHS and we have subsequently been allowed to continue being a member.

All relevant documents supporting the project have been published here:  ARCH:Saving Cultural Heritage – Deliverables

A link to the ARCH European research project website here: ARCH – Research Hub

Liverpool team members include Diana Heredia and Gerry Proctor from Engage and Lesley Woodbridge, Christine Darbyshire and Juliet Staples from Liverpool City Council.

Report prepared by Diana Heredia.