Rural Heritage

Rural Heritage

Spain and Carpathian Regions

Task Leader: UGR (ES)

This pilot promotes participation in cultural and environmental protected areas as a way to solve conflicts between preservation, re-use, and economical activities.

It focuses on Sierra Nevada (Spain), an important protected area as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and National Park.

A serious disagreement has arisen between political administrations, stakeholders, and academia on the one hand, which propose most of Sierra Nevada territory as World Heritage Site and, on the other, local communities that consider this as an external imposition with no benefits and with negative consequences for the daily life of the locals and for the conservation of its environmental and heritage values. At the same time, a new development model based on intensive agricultural production has been implemented in this territory.

The pilot intends to reinforce social participation of local communities as the best strategy to manage and preserve the heritage, cultural and environmental values of these landscapes. Therefore mediation processes between the population and local agents and the institutions and administrations which are responsible for the protection and management of the heritage, environment, and the territory will be implemented.

The implementation of co-governance initiatives are expected to have a direct impact on reinforcing the resilience of this heritage, increasing its capacity to face current challenges, which are directly connected to global and climate change.

Specific Activities

The pilot plans to:

  • promote a participatory mediation process between local stakeholders, farmers and communities and the regional and national administrations and institutions involved in the cultural, territorial and environmental management of Sierra Nevada (Spain)
  • compare the situation of Sierra Nevada with Carpathian projects
  • discuss about the creation of a co-governance initiative for the territorial safe-keeping as the best way to protect agrarian heritage (tangible and intangible) and rural landscapes
  • promote a more resilient rural CH improving local engagement and public participation in policy making, economic, cultural and social initiatives and territorial and environmental management.


  • 7 June 2018 Forum with the congressman Juanxto López de Uralde (UnidosPodemos).
    University of Granada presented all the problems there are about the modernisation of the Historical and Traditional Irrigation Systems. In this forum participated 19 platforms and associations. They presented the social, cultural and environmental problems there are in Granada.
  • 17-27 May 2018,Granada,Spain. "Darro River Valley" Programme  The 27th of May, the MEMOLab laboratory of the University of Granada will run the cleaning and the put in use of the historical irrigation channel of Romayla.
    The initiative is organized in collaboration with the Museum of Cuevas Del Sacromonte, the Municipality of Granada,The Council of Alhambra and Generalife and it is part of the rich programme of round tables and events that will be held from 17th to 27th of May, focus on the promotion and enhance of the valley of Darro, one of the most original landscape of the town and province. Read more,
    Further information: Poster of the initiative, Programme.
  • 27 May 2018, Granada, Spain.
    Cleaning of the Romayla irrigation channel (Granada) with the irrigators community and with the help of 35 volunteers and with the collaboration Alhambra and Generalife Council, "Cuevas Sacromonte" Museum, Granada City Council and Agua Granada Foundation. In this activity participated 23 volunteers and 10 Christian Scouts. ​
  • 19-20 May 2018, Jérez del Marquesado, Granada, Spain.
    Recovery and put in use the "Cabañuela" High Mountain Irrigation Channel (1,7km) in Jérez Del Marquesado with 10 members from the Local Irrigator Community and with the collaboration of the Town Hall and the National & Natural Park of Sierra Nevada. This irrigation channel was abandoned 15 years ago. In this activity has participated 30 volunteers and 5 members from the "Barranco Alcázar" trekking Association. The volunteers were from Spain, India, China, Colombia, Nicaragua, Brazil, Belgium.
  •  5 May 2018, Lugros, Granada, Spain. Cleaning day of historical irrigation channels. MEMOLab laboratory of the University of Granada in cooperation with the Town Hall of Lugros and the national and Natural Park of Sierra Nevada, organized a cleaning day of the high mountain historical irrigation channels. The initiative took place in the small municipality of Lugros and in the neighboring irrigators communities of Guadix and Graena. Read more.
    Look the video
  • 27-29 April 2018, Granada, Spain. Workshop on communal management of the rural areas in Spain. MEMOLab Laboratory from the University of Granada collaborated in the organization of the General Assembly of Communal initiatives.
    The objective was to promote the good coexistence of the neighbours, an equitable use of resources and to ensure their good status for future generations.
    Different stakeholders shared their own experiences in Spain about communal management of the rural areas. Read more here. Further information: poster of the event, programme of the event.
  • 7-8 April 2018, Barranco del Poqueira, Alpujarra, Spain.
    Cleaning of the "Nueva" historical irrigation channel with 16 Irrigators community and with the help of 50 volunteers. This participatory activity were organised in collaboration with "Plataforma por la recuperación del paisaje agro´ganadero del Barranco del Poquiera" Association. The volunteers came from Spain, France, Italy, UK, Turkey, Argentina, Chile and Australia.
  • 17 February 2018, Cáñar, Granada, Spain. Annual cleaning of the medieval irrigation channel of Barjas, in the framework of pilot case on rural heritage. University of Granada organised, along with the local irrigators community, the annual cleaning of the medieval irrigation channel of Barjas and of the branch La Hijuela.Read the chronicle of the event here. Further information:
    Poster of the event