Regeneration processes activate stable regimes of interaction and interdependence among the architectural, economic, cultural and social sub-systems in settlements. The thesis of this paper is that in order to progress towards sustainable and inclusive cities, urban governance should widen the decision-making arena, promoting virtuous circular
dynamics based on knowledge transfer, strategic decision making and stakeholders’ engagement. The historic urban landscape is a privileged la b for this purpose. The paper adapts the Triple-Helix model of knowledge-industry-government relationships to interpret the unexpected regimes of interaction between Local Authority and Cultural Heritage Assets triggered in the late 90es by the establishment of a knowledge provider such as a Faculty of Architecture in the highly degraded heritage context of the city of Syracuse, Italy. Following this approach, the authors explain the urban regeneration happened over the last 20 years in the port city of Syracuse, based on knowledge sharing and resources’ protection that promoted processes of social engagement and institutional empowerment for both new residents and entrepreneurs.
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