From international waters of DANUrB: Under the Danube river urban brand

Ján Legény, Michal Brašeň

SUMMARY

The DANUrB cultural network aims to strengthen the Danube regional cultural identity and to create a common brand by supporting transnational cultural ties between the urban centres along the Danube, and by exploring the unused or hidden cultural and social capital resources for a better economic and cultural return. The main goal of the project co-funded by the European Union (ERDF and IPA funds) is to create a comprehensive spatial-cultural network – a “European Cultural Promenade” connecting communities along the Danube. DANUrB helps to create a unified tourism brand, offering destinations, thematic routes and development possibilities that can increase the number of visitors and prolong their stay in the region. The project targets the local communities that are to be more connected to the Danube, to use their cultural resources more efficiently, and it aims to direct them towards a more sustainable development trajectory encompassing a lively chain of urban settlements along the river. Project partners – universities, regional municipalities, NGOs and professional market-based agencies – create a network and a common platform to work together with a wide range of cultural stakeholders. The resulting sustainable cultural and tourism strategy will prove that a common Danube Urban Brand can bring both social and economic benefits to the region.

There are three specific main objectives within the DANUrB project:

  1. DANUrB CULTURAL NETWORK for creating a pan-European cultural space, encouraging international dialogue and managing collaboration between research and cultural institutions, municipalities, private enterprises and civil society that will establish a strong basis for long-term sustainable development. The objective is the creation of a public space along the Danube river, in abstract and in physical terms, that is full of actual cultural activities, both during and after the project implementation.
  2. DANUrB STRATEGY for transnational spatial development program. A strategy for development of cultural, spatial and landscape-related heritage – resources along the Danube – that will support a program which takes into consideration the global and the local levels and is based on a thorough research of the local potential and conditions. Collaborating experts in spatial planning, cultural event planning and tourism management will define the spatial logic and cultural identity of the region to be perceived as the main European Cultural Promenade.
  3. DANUrB TOURS for new thematic routes in the Danube cultural promenade. The creation and actual implementation of new routes connecting cultural heritage and the way of life will be presented through specific topics such as common history, architecture, and socio-cultural processes. Unexplored region-specific heritage, for example the common communist past and local stories and the still observed cultural traditions and phenomena will be re-interpreted for a new valorisation. The collected tourism products will be marketed effectively together with the application of the latest tourist-media tools. Pocket Guide is an application used by one million users worldwide, with 150 destinations at present. The new tours created in the project will be integrated into this platform to ensure practical promotion of the prepared tourism products.

Practical results of the DANUrB project include:

  1. On-site spatial, cultural research and research of the traditions and the architectural historical heritage with the objective to create a knowledge base in the spatio-cultural context along the Danube.
  2. Pilot activities in selected towns at the Danube, connecting the local people to their traditions and cultural heritage via exhibitions, festivals and installations.
  3. Danube Cultural Promenade as a platform for the cultural network along the Danube.
  4. Thematic tours and the mobile application “Pocket Guide” used by many tourists all over the world which will also include the cultural heritage sites along the Danube.

DANUrB Strategy as a common spatial-cultural action-plan for the valorisation of cultural heritage along the Danube, collecting various information and data sets for specific sites.

Keywords: Danube region, cultural identity, social capital, European Union, DANUrB