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ENtopia Our Places in Europe

//“ENtopia – Our Places in Europe” is initiated by Europa Nostra, Europe’s pan-European federation of heritage organisations and the European Voice of Cultural Heritage.

//What is ENtopia?

It is a meeting place on the web, a network for communities of small towns, villages, localities and landscape areas, to share their efforts towards a healthy, sustainable future, showing how their Places exemplify  ‘a good Place to live in and visit’

//Why will it be interesting for small communities?

Smaller communities may not have easy access to funding and professional support, yet most appreciate their landscape setting and value their special architectural qualities. Joining a network supported by Europa Nostra, they can find value and inspiration, in working to ameliorate their futures.

//How may ENtopia be useful to small communities?

ENtopia as a network will have the capacity to generate a meeting of minds about protecting, cherishing and proclaiming this European reservoir of cultural riches. To identify the lack of secure economic structures, to promote the qualities in an ever increasing and searching tourism market, to identify the key possibilities for sustainable futures, these network tasks will help to establish the value of a heritage, small yet integrated, undervalued yet priceless. These tasks will provide a source of fresh prototypes for future patterns of community living and a sharing of experience in making Places more visible, more attractive, more accessible.

//Is ENtopia the same as Utopia?

No, although both words are about a sense of place.
Utopia’ is ‘not’ a place, it is a dream beyond realisation.
‘Dystopia’, by contrast, describes a negative Place where, for example,  unsuitable development may have damaged its character.
‘ENtopia’ represents balance between nature and man, the best of worlds, meaning that it is ‘a good Place to live in’.

(‘Building ENtopia’ is the title given to a book by a visionary planner in Greece, C.A. Doxiadis, in 1975, to describe a place which is ‘both desirable and realistic’.)

//What are the next steps for ENtopia and participants interested in joining the network?

The website is for communities to present their Places, in words and images to a European audience of interested Places. Early participants will help to explore local communication for promotion, funding and special projects within their Place, acting also in cooperation to develop the process nationally, and transnationally. It will become a ‘dating site’ for Places to share information and, perhaps, to twin together.

//What is it, and what is it not?

ENtopia is not an award nor a rescue programme, but it is a process, in which each participant Place sets out goals of sustainability, whilst respecting and protecting its own cultural and natural characteristics.
It aims to foster greater appreciation, awareness and sharing between communities.
Those communities which join will share in the benefits of cooperation, experience and common ideas across the continent of Europe.
We expect that “ENtopia – Our Places in Europe” will represent a growing network of local communities that will inspire many people across Europe – and indeed across the world, to visit, enjoy and learn from them.

Europa Nostra
25 January 2015