A. Vignati, M. Mandarini

Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
In Italy and in several European regions Ecomuseums are getting a stable model of sustainable development and promotion of responsible tourism. In Lombardy (one of the four motors of Europe) this model is developing a regional network that promotes collective research projects and participatory planning with local communities.
The aim of this paper is to present the experience of research and training workshops that the Ecomuseums Lombardy Network in partnership with Milan Polytechnic (Design area) have developed.
1| Ecomuseums: a networking approach for the local development and the responsible tourism
Eco-museum is "a cultural institution that provides permanent functions of research, conservation, development of natural and cultural resources, representative of an environment and way of life in a specific territory, with the participation of the population” (Rivière, Art. 1 of the French Ecomuseums National Charter)
As a model for local development, Ecomuseums are moving to practices and projects for sustainable development of resources and promotion of responsible tourism, able to coexist in a harmonious economic goals, cultural and tourist development. This experience is having a lot of relevance in Italy, both with policy actions and with networking between local experiences and territories. In this scenario in 2008 a stable network between the 28 existing ecomuseums was created in Lombardy (Ecomuseums Lombardy Network). This Network works in partnership with universities and since 2008 has operated a permanent collaboration with the area of Design of Milan Polytechnic.
2| Design and Ecomuseums: research, projects and training
Have the territory as "object of the project" puts the designer before a complexity area of the project: in the territory in fact, material and immaterial, human and physical, social and economic development tend to coexist and interact. The ecomuseum territory has a collection of resources, tangible and intangible (territorial capital) that the local stakeholder community put at the center of plans, projects and strategies to enhance and promote tourism. The need of these communities is an overview, a long-term strategy and planning tools that are able to create resources and actors network and that create constant relationship with the outside. The vision and the generation of strategies are own of design approach, which offers an interesting contribution to the development of territories. In this field the design approach is based on action and participatory research and the involvement of designers and local communities in sustainable research and training projects that promote the economic development of the ecomuseums.
3| Research and workshops promoted by Milan Polytechnic and Ecomuseums Lombardy Network
Since 2008 Milan Polytechnic (Design area) and Ecomuseums Lombardy Network have developed projects, training activities and researches on these issues, trying to work for long-term actions in specific territories. The activities carried out have worked for the creation of a new relationship between research and training, involving researchers, designers and students in real projects to develop new communication tools, new services and new strategies for the development of the local resources. This paper aims to present the results of these experiences as good practice for the diffusion of design culture in the development of the ecomuseum territories.