INSUAH – Integrated Study on Urban Agriculture as Heritage


INSUAH starts today. We and our partners in Tokyo, Bandung, São Paulo and Havana are looking forward to working together and to four exciting years!


Cultural heritage: What yesterday teaches us for tomorrow

The international research project INSUAH will be funded by Volkswagen Foundation.
Together, the Foundation Compagnia di San Paolo, the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the Volkswagen Foundation are funding eight international projects in the field of tension between "heritage and change".


Global Issues - Integrating Different Perspectives on Heritage and Change

What does the natural and cultural heritage mean for indigenous peoples in the Amazon and how could a better awareness strengthen them against external influences? Are not the experiences and traces of migrants on the routes from Africa to Europe also to be considered cultural heritage, and does this not suggest a reconceptualisation of the concept of heritage? - These are two of many questions that illustrate how present and global the debate about our cultural heritage is. Two projects that exemplify the research interests of eight international teams in the field of tension between "heritage and change". As part of their joint call for proposals "Global Issues - Integrating Different Perspectives on Heritage and Change", the Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo (Italy), the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Sweden) and the Volkswagen Foundation (Germany) now make a total of around 11 million euros available for these eight new projects.

Based on an international peer review, interdisciplinary research projects were selected in which the perspectives of researchers and participants from different countries are brought together. In addition to a main applicant from Germany, Italy or Sweden, at least two partners from low- or middle-income countries outside Europe are involved in every project. Investigating the respective topics from different perspectives seems particularly profitable, as cultural heritage creates identity across national borders. Moreover, it is exposed to similar threats worldwide, so transnational approaches to solutions are in demand. Whether digitalisation, environmental changes or globalisation - with regard to the major transformation processes of the present, the topic of culture is usually given little consideration. This is one of the reasons why the thematic field was defined for this call.

Read more about the call for proposals "Global Issues - Integrating Different Perspectives on Heritage and Change" and the funded projects in the press release by VolkswagenStiftung.


INSUAH - Integrated Study on Urban Agriculture as Heritage

Given global challenges such as urbanisation, limited resources and food security, urban agriculture has turned from a phenomenon considered to be peripheral to a globally acknowledged instrument for sustainable development. Usually, urban agriculture initiatives focus around creating new systems; the qualities of inherited and vernacular systems of urban agricultural production and its associated benefits -for food supply, income generation, social and biodiversity, and the urban metabolism - have not been subject yet to research activities, despite the fact that considering urban development and heritage together is strongly suggested in the UN agenda for sustainable development. To address this gap, the team will share case study based experiences from different urban regions: Sao Paulo (Brazil), Havana (Cuba), Bandung (Indonesia), Tokyo (Japan) and Nuremberg (Germany).

The project combines historical investigations, spatial analysis and living lab methods to detect, map and define the heritage and its associated values and threats, and to raise awareness of the heritage and elaborate targeted planning and policy agendas. The case study findings will be integrated in a parallel metalevel process by focussing upon a living heritage approach taking into account ecosystematic, contextual and participatory perspectives.


Collaborating Partners

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Lohrberg,
    RWTH Aachen, Germany
  • Prof. Makoto Yokohari,
    The University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Prof. Oekan S. Abdoellah,
    Padjadjaran University, Indonesia
  • Prof. Dr. Luciana Itikawa
    Centro Universitário das Faculdades Metropolitanas Unidas, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Prof. Dr. Jorge Pena Díaz
    Technical University of Havana, Cuba