CARISMED trains SMEs on reuse of abandoned buildings across 4 workshops in Hebron City, Palestine


To support the revitalization of urban city centers in Mediterranean areas through Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the lead partner Birzeit University | جامعة بيرزيت (BZU) from the CARISMED project initiated awareness and training activities for SMEs on LCARS (Life-Cycle Approach to Re-use of Abandoned Buildings) to establish a CCI Innovation Lab in Hebron City. These activities form a crucial part of the CARISMED project's overarching goals and were executed through four workshops with the following themes:

1. Networking & Clustering
2. Circular, Smart, Green, and Sustainable Practices
3. Proximity & Spatial Re-use

These workshops aim to raise awareness and offer training to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Hebron city regarding the concept of circular economy and the role of creative and cultural crafts within urban contexts. The training also seeks to cultivate skills in utilizing innovative methods and tools to enhance recycling, foster inventive business models, and devise solutions aligned with circular economy principles. Ultimately, the objective is to establish a purpose-driven experimental creative workshop by adaptively and economically reusing a selected old building in Hebron city. All workshops were conducted in the hall of Uncle Saleh's restaurant in Hebron.

On July 23, 2023, the Department of Architectural Engineering and Planning at Birzeit University conducted the Second awareness & the First training workshop focused on "Networking & Clustering" . The launch event saw the participation of city stakeholders, including representatives from the Hebron Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Hebron Governorate, Hebron Municipality, and Hebron Rehabilitation Committee. Additionally, fifteen craftsmen from various trades took part in the workshop.

The trainers covered a range of topics and engaging training materials, including discussions on clustering and sectoral coordination, the concept and implementation of Studio labs, green building principles, urban sustainability strategies, practices related to smart buildings, and the adaptive reuse of buildings. The workshop concluded with an in-depth discussion among stakeholders, trainers, and the BZU team regarding how different parties can collaborate to achieve project objectives, and the approach to involving craftsmen in the execution of the studio lab.

The Second training workshop, titled "Green Practices in Craft and Creative Works, Smart, Green, and Sustainable Practices Associated with Circular Economy in Repurposed Buildings," took place on July 30, 2023. This workshop was part of the Awareness and Training Workshops Program focusing on the Low-cost Adaptive Reuse of Old Buildings and their Conversion into Innovation Labs to benefit artisans in Hebron City. Various topics were addressed during the training:

• Sustainability in MSMEs, Intellectual property, and legal aspects in Palestine.

• Green Economy.

• Circular Economy in Handcrafts.

• Waste management in MSMEs as an environmental and economic opportunity.

• Creativity vs Innovation, Human-centered design, and Product portfolio.

Key recommendations from the workshop included the importance of collaborative efforts to develop creative products that cater to both local and global market demands. This development should adhere to rigorous scientific methodologies while embracing the principles of circular economy and safeguarding the rights of artisans.

The initial segment of the Third workshop was conducted on August 6, 2023, under the title "Proximity & Spatial Re-use." This workshop encompassed a wide spectrum of subjects with the aim of enriching the understanding of low-cost spatial reutilization and harnessing the economic and environmental opportunities it presents. The workshop included specialized lectures, interactive discussions, and hands-on exercises that focused on the following topics:

• "LCARS: What and why?" This session provided a comprehensive introduction to the LCARS concept and its importance in achieving sustainability and promoting the principles of the circular economy.

• "Designing for Adaptive Reuse: Exploring Circular Economy Strategies" This segment illuminated the circular economy strategies implemented in the design of projects centered around spatial reuse.

• "Assessing the Economic Viability of Adaptive Reuse Projects" This topic was dedicated to evaluating the economic feasibility of projects involving spatial reuse.

• "Circular Supply Chain Strategies for Adaptive Reuse Projects" This part offered an overview of circular supply chain strategies suitable for projects focused on spatial reuse.

• "Guidelines/Practices for Adaptive Reuse of Buildings" This segment covered best practices and guidelines for the cost-effective reuse of buildings.

The workshop received considerable attention from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Participants conveyed their high level of satisfaction with the content, discussions, and active involvement during the event.

Upon the workshop's conclusion, the SMEs put forth recommendations designed to advance the concept of low-cost spatial reuse. These suggestions aim to encourage innovative and sustainable design, ultimately contributing to the sustainable development of the old city while safeguarding its architectural and cultural heritage.

Such educational initiatives aspire to instill a sense of environmental preservation and resource efficiency through sustainable practices. They underscore the significance of spatial reuse as an effective means to reduce costs and achieve sustainable development.

On August 13, 2023, the BZU team conducted the Fourth workshop of Training Activities for SMEs on LCARS of Abandoned Buildings for Creating CCI Innovation Lab in Hebron City. The training workshop was titled "Proximity & Spatial Re-use - Part Two". Eleven craftsmen from various trades participated in the workshop.

The workshop aimed to formulate strategies for utilizing the repurposed old building as a Studio Lab for SMEs in Hebron City. The trainers delivered a variety of specialized presentations, engaged in interactive discussions, and facilitated brainstorming sessions on the following subjects:

• Community Engagement Strategies for Adaptive Reuse Projects: This topic explores how to engage and involve local communities in the adaptive reuse process. It covers educating the public about the benefits of circular economy principles, engaging local community members in identifying and salvaging building materials, and creating public spaces that promote sharing and reuse.

• Monitoring and Evaluating the Environmental Impact of Adaptive Reuse Projects: This subject focuses on monitoring and evaluating the environmental impact of adaptive reuse projects. It includes assessing the carbon footprint of various reuse strategies, measuring the reduction in waste generated by reuse projects, and evaluating the long-term sustainability of such projects.

During the workshop, various topics were discussed and brainstormed for operating the selected building in Hebron City as a Studio Lab for SMEs. These topics included:

• The administration of the Studio Lab.
• The contribution of community participation to the success of the Studio Lab's operation.
• The involvement of educational institutions and industrial companies in ensuring the success of the Studio Lab's operation.
• The role of SMEs in furnishing and equipping the Studio Lab.

By the end of the event, the following outcomes were achieved:

• Defining the Innovation Lab: An Innovation Lab is a dedicated space for artisans to brainstorm and discuss marketable products, identify demand, and explore product development opportunities.
• Providing Essential Equipment: An Innovation Lab offers access to equipment that may not be available to craftsmen in their own workshops. The provided equipment assists in the production of primary products.
• Showcasing Artisan Products: The Innovation Lab serves as a platform to exhibit artisan products for local marketing purposes.
• The Partner Institutions' Role in Success: The success of this laboratory is closely tied to the role played by partner institutions.

The CARISMED project aims to formulate an integrated urban policy that bolsters the sustainability of historical buildings within mediterranean city centers through the facilitation of synergies among projects launched under the ENI CBC Med Programme.