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SHCITY, shortlisted for european ilucidare special prizes in the innovation category


A technological platform has been implemented in Ávila to improve management and conservation of the city’s historic centre, which is a World Heritage Site

Ávila has been transformed into a smart heritage city thanks to the Smart Heritage City project (SHCity), which has been shortlisted for the European ILUCIDARE Special Prizes. These awards are organised by the ILUCIDARE consortium, the European Commission and Europa Nostra.

They recognise the value of outstanding heritage projects, and the winners will be announced in autumn. SHCity competes in the Innovation category against another two cooperation projects developed in the Netherlands and Estonia.

Improving diagnosis and decision-making

The data collected by the sensors is added to the data gathered from other existing systems, creating a flow of information that facilitates the work of heritage managers. They have access to a control panel on a computer, where there is a 3D model of the city, and they get online information from each one of the monitored buildings.

As they will know what is going on in each of them, using objective and accurate information, heritage managers can make a better diagnosis and more informed decisions. The platform also sends out an alert if a risk is detected or if a parameter is out of control, so managers can react immediately.

App for tourists and interactive panels

As well as the platform for heritage managers, SHCity developed an app for tourists that uses the information collected by the monitoring systems to offer tourists interesting information. It can be downloaded via a QR code.

With this app, visitors can design their own routes around the city, taking into consideration the time they have available and the places of interest that are close by or those with shorter waiting times. Interactive panels were also installed so that visually-impaired people can have access to interesting information.

"By developing a network of sensors linked to a self-diagnostic web-based and open source assessment tool, this project is a brilliant example of heritage-led technical innovation,” the ILUCIDARE jury noted. “The smart and original solution tackles different aspects of heritage management in a holistic way, including environmental and safety issues, leading to better decision-making.” The jury highlighted the project’s potential “to be replicated in other urban heritage contexts across Europe”.

Replicability was one of the challenges of SHCity, and that is why prototypes were given to the cities of Sintra-Cascais (Portugal) and Ribarroja de Turia (Valencia, Spain) to potentially be developed there. A total of 1,194,333 euros was invested in the development of this project within the framework of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the European Interreg V Sudoe programme.

The project was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals from Spain, France and Portugal, with researchers from Santa María la Real Foundation, AIDIMME Technology Institute, CARTIF Technology Centre, Faculdad de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, NOBATEK and TECNALIA.


The ILUCIDARE Special Prizes illustrate how cultural heritage bridges our past, our present and our future. They bring to light the vast potential of Europe’s shared heritage to foster innovation and to enhance the EU’s positive role in the world through international cultural cooperation,” said Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth.

“In these trying times, the shortlisted projects for the newly-launched ILUCIDARE Special Prizes are an inspiration for us all. They are true Champions of the Europe of Talents. Now, more than ever, we need to mobilise and unite the worlds of culture, heritage, innovation and research, and to reinforce our global partnerships. I warmly congratulate the shortlisted projects for showcasing that cultural heritage is a powerful catalyst for Europe’s recovery and revival,” she concluded.

The two winners of the ILUCIDARE Special Prizes will be announced in autumn 2020: one for excellence in heritage-led innovation and one for excellence in heritage-led international relations.
The ILUCIDARE Special Prizes are supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, in addition to the European Union’s Creative Europe Programme for culture and the audiovisual sectors. The latter, in turn, supports the European Heritage Awards / Europa Nostra Awards.

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