• European University Institute logo
  • Global Governance Programme logo

Cultural Heritage and the City

Discover how cities develop their own unique cultures and explore key concepts related to cultural heritage.

14,548 enrolled on this course

Cultural Heritage and the City
This course is part of the Exploring Culture and Heritage program, which will enable you to discover the importance of culture and heritage.

Explore the unique cultural heritage of cities

Cultural heritage is usually discussed in national or religious terms: we speak of Italian culture, Greek civilization, Islamic art, and so on. But today cities are creating their own heritage through museums, galleries, markets of artistic goods, and urban networks. Cities project themselves as cultural hubs representing and connecting entire regions, for example Doha and the UAE, Singapore and Southeast Asia, Los Angeles and North America.

Using these and other examples, through this course you’ll explore exactly what is meant by urban cultural heritage and key concepts related to it.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Hello, everybody. My name is Anna Triandafyllidou. And I would like to invite you to join me in an instructive and cultural journey around the world. Together, we will look into what is cultural heritage, who owns, governs, and is responsible for cultural heritage. We will see which are the key actors involved in its conservation and promotion, as well as the policies in place.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds We will also look at how urban development is impacting cultural heritage and try to answer a pressing question, can urbanisation be an asset or is it a threat to the preservation of heritage? Together, we will visit places such as Carthage in Tunisia and Istanbul in Turkey to see how cultural heritage is managed, preserved, and promoted or not. Come with me and learn more about cultural heritage and its governance, the main actors and factors, and how cities mobilise heritage for a variety of purposes and which challenges they face. I look forward to seeing you soon.


  • Week 1

    Cultural Heritage in an Urbanising World

    • Welcome to our course

      Welcome to our course on cultural heritage and the city. Meet your educators and get an overview of the topics that will be covered during these three weeks.

    • What is cultural heritage?

      How can cultural heritage be defined? Learn about the different conceptual distinctions to identify different types of heritage, and tell us what heritage means to you.

    • Cultural heritage policies

      Who designs cultural heritage policies? What are their goals? Let us look at how institutional frameworks regulating cultural heritage have emerged and how they are structured.

    • Cities and their heritage

      We live in an urbanising world. Get to know some of the key issues that cities are facing today and discuss why cultural heritage is important for contemporary urban societies.

    • Week 1 wrap up

      Let us see what we have learned this week about cultural heritage and cities.

  • Week 2

    The Governance of Heritage

    • Heritage governance

      Let us start by introducing the notion of governance and see how it applies to the cultural heritage sector. Listen to our experts explaining the evolution of heritage governance in several European countries.

    • Heritage in urban strategies

      Let us look now at the dynamics at work at the city level. Let's go beyond the sectorial boundaries and see how heritage is tied to various urban issues such as transportation or urban planning.

    • Heritage and urban development

      Cities mobilise their heritage as a resource for their development. What is the economic rationale behind such strategies? See how industrial cities used their heritage to transform their image.

    • Week 2 wrap up

      What have we learned this week? Let's recap what we talked about regarding the governance of heritage and urban strategies.

  • Week 3

    Heritage and Urban Change

    • Urban transformations

      How do urban transformations participate in defining a city's heritage? We will talk about the heritagization of urban infrastructures and discuss the challenges of defining and labelling urban heritage.

    • Cultural heritage vs urban development

      Explore three key tensions between cultural heritage and urban development

    • The role of civil society

      When cultural heritage is at risk, urban citizens can rise up, take initiatives or protest in order to safeguard their heritage.

    • Events and city identity

      Different kinds of events have been integrated into the strategies of cities to promote heritage, from mega-events (Olympics, football World Cups, World Expositions), to smaller-scale events such as festivals, or carnivals.

    • European Capitals of Culture

      Let's look at the case of the European Capitals of Culture. This program designates a city every year and celebrates its heritage. A wide range of cities have used it as an instrument of urban development.

    • Course wrap up

      We have the reached the end of our course. Let's review the main issues we have covered and the discussions we have had over the last three weeks.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain what cultural heritage is, its different types and how it has emerged as an area of public policy
  • Identify the key actors of cultural heritage governance
  • Evaluate the impacts of cultural heritage projects on cities
  • Explain the tensions between urban development and cultural heritage
  • Compare the governance of heritage in different cities or countries

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in cultural heritage and cities, but it might be of particular interest to students of archaeology, sociology, and related subjects; urban practitioners like planners and community activists; or cultural heritage professionals like those working in tourism.

Who will you learn with?

Anna Triandafyllidou is Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.

Jeremie Molho is Research Fellow at the European University Institute and the National University of Singapore

Who developed the course?

European University Institute (EUI)

The European University Institute offers doctoral and post-doctoral training in the social sciences. It hosts the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and the Historical Archives of the EU.

Global Governance Programme

One of the flagship programmes at the European University institute (EUI), launched in 2010 in response to a growing need for global governance in an ever more interconnected and multipolar world.


Ways to learn


Upgrade this course

Basic access

Choose the best way to learn for you!


Billed annually at $189.99/year



Endless possibilities!Unlock your expertiseTry before you upgrade
Access to this courseticktickLimited to 5 weeks
Access to ALL eligible short courses with additional benefits, for a yeartickcrosscross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligibleDigital onlyPrinted and digitalcross
Join and Upgrade

Ways to learn

Upgrade this course for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year. Or, join with basic access.

Upgrade this course


Unlock your expertise

  • Access to this course
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Certificate when you're eligible



Billed annually at $189.99/year

Endless possibilities!

  • All of the above for ALL eligible short courses, for a year*

*Digital certificates only

Basic access


Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 5 weeks

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

Available until 22 November 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Upgrades or Unlimited.

Available until 22 November 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...

You can use the hashtag #FLCulturalCities to talk about this course on social media.