Civic Tarraco Project, Citizen Participation in Tarragona

Civic Tarraco Project, Citizen Participation in Tarragona

The Archaeological Complex of Tarraco was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000. It consists of the following monuments in the city: the Walls, the Worship Area, the Provincial Forum, the Circus, the Amphitheatre, the Colonial Forum, the Theatre, the Early Christian Necropolis, Scipios’ Tower, El Mèdol Quarry, and the Ferreras Puente del Diablo Aqueduct, and, outside the city, the Roman villas of Els Munts (Altafulla) and Centcelles (Constantí) and the Roman Arch of Berà (Roda de Berà).

In addition, the rock paintings of the Cova de l’Apotecari are part of the Mediterranean Rock Painting Arc included in the World Heritage list in 1998. We can also add that Castells (human towers) and the Mediterranean Diet were recognised by UNESCO in the Representative List of Intangible Heritage in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Finally, the province of Tarragona has other Mediterranean Arc rock art sites, the Royal Monastery of Poblet (a World Heritage Site since 1991) and the Ebro Delta Biosphere Reserve (recognised by UNESCO in 2013), and the declaration of Priorat County as a Cultural Landscape is in progress. This makes Tarragona province one of the points on the planet with the largest number and widest variety of sites recognised by UNESCO. This variety is found in a living territory, in which the Historical and Archaeological Heritage, the Cultural Landscape and the Biosphere Reserve have an intrinsic value and content, at the same time as containing intangible values and having a relationship with the societies that live in them.

Tarragona, as a living Mediterranean city, forms part of this reality, of this dialectic in which the different types of heritages are linked, coexist and interrelate with the life of a city in development in the 21st century. The tensions and dialectics inherent in all metropolises with a vast heritage, and which are planning for the future, generate a need for better management. In view of this situation and the need for improved civic governance, in which the opinions, feelings and proposals of citizens must be taken into account as part of the logical and necessary process of empowerment, the CivicTarraco project has been activated.

Included in the strategic objectives of the Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona City Council and the Tarragona Smart Mediterranean City Foundation is the process of redefining the Smart Heritage concept beyond the application of new technologies in the management and dissemination of Historical Heritage.

CivicTarraco proposes a participatory model that goes beyond the classic proposals: personal participation, creation of a database and group meetings. CivicTarraco, in addition to the classic system, generates a model of participation through a moderated social network and the active cooperation of civic reporters. The idea is to reinforce the classic process by applying the Messagenes technology to generate the proposal of ideas that go beyond opinions and requests, as well as a model of asynchronous communication.

Messagenes is a contextualised and moderated social medium in which participation is through a website or an app. It has the active participation of citizen reporters who glean ideas from the different interest groups: experts, the commercial sector, the political sector, residents, users, travellers, tourists, associations, organisations, etc.

It is a process with a much more open and transformative focus that empowers citizens, connects society with the specialists and responsible politicians and allows the generation of idea maps that go beyond opinions and specific opinions that in one way or another lead to frustration, as they cannot all be answered with a yes or a no.

Personnel involved

  • Ms Begoña Floria Eseberri. Deputy Mayor for Culture, Heritage, Festivals and Tourism. Tarragona City Council
  • Dr Santiago José Castellà Surribas. Professor of International Law. Rovira i Virgili University. Director of the Smart Cities Chair. Director of the Tarragona Smart Mediterranean City Foundation.
  • Dr Angel Belzunegui Eraso. Professor of Sociology. Rovira i Virgili University. Director of the Social Inclusion Chair of the Rovira i Virgili University.
  • Mr Gustavo Cuadrado Moya. Professor of the Faculty of Business Sciences of the Rovira i Virgili University. Manager of the Tarragona Smart Mediterranean City Foundation.
  • Mr Armand Bogaards. Entrepreneur. Iniciativa Mensagenes.
  • Mr Joan Menchon Bes. Municipal Archaeologist. Tarragona City Council