Veronika JOUKES

University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), Centre for Transdisciplinary Development Studies (CETRAD)

Isabel COSTA

University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), Centre for Transdisciplinary Development Studies (CETRAD), Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE)

Francisco DINIZ

Centre for Transdisciplinary Development Studies (CETRAD)


The present study is part of a broader research carried out in Chaves, a medium sized town on the border with Spain, in the interior north of Portugal, and it took place within the Monumental Chaves – Valuing and Promoting Cultural Values and Heritage Strategic Programme. This programme focussed on keeping and promoting the town’s monumental heritage (both architectural and archaeological) at the heart of the town’s historic centre, and aimed to make a positive difference on the development of the territory in which it is located. It included a set of studies on impact monitoring which ended up attaining goals that had not been foreseen in the initial programme, not only because these were purposely extended, but also because of the methodological approach that was chosen. Thus, this article presents the residents’, students’, and visitors’ perspectives on the subject of monumental heritage protection, conservation and enhancement. Results show that protection, conservation, and enhancement of cultural heritage still matters for the population segments whose opinions were taken into consideration, who acknowledge its value as a solid resource for the town’s and the region’s development. Cultural tourism as a personal strategy of informal self-learning also plays a specific role. Worth mentioning is the fact that young people have different and broader views on the future of both the heritage and of the town containing it. Results of the studies in question amply justify a promotion and development proposal that goes beyond the limits of the town’s historic centre and bestows on it a major role in terms of the town’s and the region’s development. The conclusions of the study are a contribution to increase public opinion monitoring and public participation in actions designed to enhance cultural heritage, more so in towns which have an historic centre.

Keywords: historic centre renewal, public participation, cultural tourism, youth, regional development

JEL classification: O18, P25, O21
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